Winston-Salem Enrichment Center prepare exhibit to raise money for students

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- For many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, a place that unlocks their abilities is a must to better health.

"A lot of people with intellectual disabilities regress quickly if not kept active," said Valerie Vizena, the executive director of The Enrichment Center. "We feel like this is a life line."

Students at the center, which uses art-based programs to help unlock their abilities, are working to prepare their artwork in a gallery exhibit on Friday. The students will display artwork that includes items like sculptures, photography and paintings. Much of the work will help produce income for students who could face cutbacks to their state or Medicaid disability benefits.

"Lots of these artist depend on that little extra money," said Gina Miller, with the center, who knows the fear families are facing as lawmakers talk of cutbacks. "Families are going to be faced with, 'What are we going to do? Who is going to take care of my son or daughter while I work?'"

In addition to art, the center teaches life skills to the disabled who are living longer, fuller lives.

"We are not only providing a service to the individual that we serve here but their families," Vizena said. "They come here, they are in a safe place, they're learning ... and their parents are able to go to work; if not, one parent may stay home."

The center has hosted information events to lawmakers to help educate them on the needs for continued funding.

The gallery exhibit is Friday from 5-7 p.m. at the Enrichment Center on Marshall Street.