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An art show for some very special artists

Soledad Leo, assistant director of the Pagosa Springs Youth Center, has been holding an art class for some students with disabilities that was originally grant funded through an AmeriCorps grant when she participated in the program at the Pagosa Springs Youth Center.

Over a year later, the program continues with five participants and they are still producing some great art. On Tuesday, June 26, the First Southwest Bank is hosting an art show from 5:30-7 p.m. so the students can share with everyone some of their work.

Artists include Sydney and Sharmon Poole, Bret Jackson, Makayla Rickey and Tony Marks.?

Soledad has a history of working with students in the community through camps and private lessons and brought her gift when she began working at the Pagosa Springs Youth Center. One of the projects that the members participated in was a huge mural made of little canvases painted by anyone attending the Youth Center. The Disability Art Class also participated and when the mural was assembled, you have no idea which artist has a disability and which doesn’t. The little canvases became one big representation of the youngsters who painted at the Youth Center.

Soledad continues this program as a volunteer and loves working with the artistic side of her students. She also includes them in her summer program, Soledad’s Little Angels, and everyone works side by side on Friday mornings.? This is the part of her art work that makes her smile — teaching. She sees what gifts each of her students have and she brings it out on canvas, paper or with their hands in a 3D project. Soledad is no stranger to the community, but her instruction and motivation to her special students also needs to be shared with the community.

First Southwest Bank is sponsoring the Art Show on Tuesday, June 26. Jody McAlister, a personal banker at First Southwest, also participates in Special Olympics as a ski coach and equestrian coach.? Jody has been with Special Olympics for five years and is one of the group’s avid supporters.?

“This is a way to share with the community a different side of some of the athletes. Come enjoy some refreshments and see what these students have created,” said McAlister.

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