GREENSBURG – An eclectic blend of piano tunes converged with an artist’s canvas to form an afternoon of unique local entertainment for clients of Decatur Developmental Industries (DDI) Tuesday.
Consumers of DDI, the local affiliate of Developmental Services, Inc. (DSI), were treated to a concert by Arts and Cultural Council of Decatur County (ACCDC) executive director Bill Rethlake, while the large group also received a painting lesson by local artist Billy Dilkes.
Both men appeared as DDI’s community guests, bringing the joy of two different forms of art to an enthusiastic audience, several of whom are artists in their own right.
Rethlake set up an electronic piano near the facility’s work area and played a selection of well-known pieces that ranged from Beatles’ hits to those of the Doors.
The accomplished pianist was joined by numerous DDI clients who danced and sang throughout the program as well.
Rethlake said “Rocky Top” and “House of the Rising Sun” proved to be especially popular, as did requests. Rethlake said if he knew it, he played.
“They seemed to enjoy it,” Rethlake said of his audience’s enjoyment of the show. “The more fun they have, the more obnoxious I get,” Rethlake said with a laugh. “And then the more fun they have.”
He added that everyone has a talent, in one form or another.
“Everyone has a gift; it’s our job to share that with others.”
Billy Dilkes, who hosts “Gallery Night Out” each week at Greensburg’s Art on the Square Gallery, painted a canvas of flowers for DSI, which will remain at the workshop as a memento of the day’s festive atmosphere.
Dilkes recently conducted a “Gallery Night Out” exclusively with DSI consumers who took brushes in hand to create masterpieces of their own.
For Dilkes, working with individuals with disabilities has been a rewarding experience.
“I get to show my talents and I get to show them that art is the way to the soul,” the artist told the Daily News Tuesday.
The presentation was the idea of DSI employment specialist Carrie Shumaker and Marilyn Millis of the ACCDC.
Millis said the Gallery on the Square will soon feature photographs taken by local DSI clients in an upcoming exhibit. The date has yet to be set, but the photographs, which feature nature scenes snapped at various spots in Decatur and Bartholomew Counties, already have taken up residence on a wall in DDI’s main office hallway.
Those photos, along with the inner-workings of DDI, will be on display next month during the facility’s open house.
From 3 to 6 p.m. Feb. 25, community members will be invited to visit the campus of DDI, see its clients in action and get a sense of the programs the organization offers to local individuals living with disabilities.
“We want the community to see, hands-on, what our clients are doing,” program director Jenny Maddux said Tuesday.
Invitations have been sent to Greensburg Mayor Gary Herbert, State Representative Randy Frye, State Senator Jean Leising, and members of the Greensburg/Decatur County Chamber of Commerce, among many others.
Maddux hopes visitors will leave with “a general understanding of the importance of the workshop,” which allows clients of DSI the opportunity to hold a job and earn a paycheck. Maddux said that some DSI clients, due to the severity of their disabilities, wouldn’t be able to find work otherwise.
She said working helps many of those individuals feel a sense of pride in the accomplishment of holding a job.
“We want to be able to educate our community about the services we offer – see what our clients do, what we do,” Maddux said.
More than anything, Maddux wants community members to see the potential she sees in her clients on a daily basis.
“People in the community need to also see they’re viable members of society,” Maddux said. “This is a small snapshot of what our clients do day-to-day.”
With many clients taking part in Special Olympics, Maddux also took the time to speak of the upcoming Polar Plunge, which begins at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at Versailles State Park.
The annual event tasks participants with jumping into an icy pond in the name of raising funds to support Special Olympics athletes. Maddux took time to thank the Decatur County Chapter of American Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE) for a sponsorship of $1,000 toward the program. ABATE collected more than $3,000 for Decatur County Special Olympics last year.
More information about the Polar Plunge can be found at www.soindiana.org.
Further info about the Art on the Square Gallery can be found at www.artonthesquaregallery.com.
Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056; email@example.com