A Working Family: The NIAD Art Center in Richmond

The studio smells like wet clay and paint. Some of the artists work quietly, threading needle through a quilt or contemplating their next brushstroke. Others chirp and laugh and offer input to one another—always positive.

Converted from a mechanic shop into a massive loft-style studio and galleries, Richmond’s 32-year-old NIAD (National Institute of Arts and Disabilities) Art Center on 23rd Street provides more than just a workspace and exhibit. For five hours every day, it becomes home for more than 60 artists with disabilities and their instructors.

“When you have a disability, you’re separated out as an other,” executive director Deb Dyer says. “We try to level that.”

Three exhibitionsI Have Always Been a StormEssay, and Hometown Heroes, will be on display from Sept. 12 through Oct. 24 at NIAD. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The opening reception for the show will be this Saturday, Sept. 13, from 12:30 to 3 p.m.

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