Work on calendar begins

By Patricia Ann Speelman - [email protected]

SIDNEY — Associates at S&H Products in Sidney have begun artworks for their 2017 calendar.

S&H provides a variety of services and supports for eligible Shelby County residents with developmental disabilities. This is the eighth year that associates have created CD calendars for sale. The 2017 edition will be a 13-month calendar, with pages for each month from December 2016 through December 2017.

Each month will feature the artwork of a different associate and the artist’s photo.

“We have received positive feedback from our previous calendars — how compact and decorative they were and how much they were used,” said S&H’s Spirit and Hands Art Studio Program Manager Jodi New.

S&H board member Donna Ruble, a retired art teacher, spearheads the project.

“We started with Christmas cards in 2000,” she said recently. “The board had wanted a project that the associates could do that would make money.” When sales of Christmas cards began to decline, Ruble switched the project to CD desk calendars. Each page of the calendar sits in a plastic holder the size of a CD case.

Corporate donors support the cost of the project by sponsoring individual months.

Ruble and New begin the process each year by selecting 25 associates to create artworks that represent the various months. Each artist works on only one month.

“We try to get a good variety of folks with all sorts of ability levels,” New said. Five of them spend a session working with community volunteers. This year’s volunteers were Mila Hamilton, artist and owner of Gallery 2: Ten in Sidney; Ellen Keyes, executive director of Gateway Arts Council; Teresa Harshbarger, owner of Believe gift shop in Sidney; Melinda Watercutter, of Cutters Paintball Valley in Sidney; and Colleen Schmidt, a past board member of the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

Keyes was pleased to have the chance to participate.

“It was a privilege,” she said. “It promotes the arts. What they produce is really neat.” She noted that a particular challenge for her associate, Chelsea Huffer, of Jackson Center, was physical limitations.

“And the best part is overcoming those physical limitations,” Keyes said.

During several additional sessions that will be led by Ruble without volunteer assistance, the associates will spend a total of 12 hours working on their creations.

“Everybody has a creative part of them. We tap into creativity,” Ruble said. Associate William Edward Mann, of Sidney, agrees.

“I just do what I feel,” he said. “I just like working with people. When I have the opportunity and Jodi asks me to do something, I do it.”

This is the third year that Mann has completed artwork for the calendar. He and Schmidt created a shamrock-laden design for the 2017 March page.

Ruble decides in advance of the work sessions whether any given associate will paint, work with paper collage, or do stenciling or stamping.

“I try to match the theme and the medium to the ability (of the associate),” she said.

A committee of S&H staff, board and volunteers makes the final decisions about which 13 artworks will make it into the calendar.

Four hundred calendars will be printed and will go on sale Nov. 1. They will be available at $5 each at several retail outlets and at S&H Products, 435 N. Stolle Ave.

By Patricia Ann Speelman

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

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