Little City Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, has a wide range of items created exclusively by artists with developmental disabilities.
Located in the northwest suburbs, Little City's artists have been showcasing their talents for more than 20 years. Every time they sell something, it not only supports the organization, the artists also benefit.
Looking around the room, you will see a variety of handmade items.
"We do everything from screen printing, earring making, copper enameling, sewing, wearable art, designing handbags and pillows and block printing, petiquing, things like that," said Design Center founder Laura Piazza.
"At the very beginning of the Design studio, when we started it, we had groups of five people come in at a time, and we saw what we sort of measured their abilities to use scissors, to measure to use a sewing machine, so we based the hiring on that because it was a vocational program."
Now they have 100 artists with developmental disabilities involved in the center. Their ages range from 20's to 60's.
"I do have facilitators that teach and work with pottery and sculpture, but as far as textiles, I do it," Piazza said. "But there are some who do that, and outside the studio they create their own work or come in and show me different things they've made.
"They're becoming emerging artists and that to me is a real success."
Pamela Guzier not only has talent, she has a lot of patience. She has been making earrings and necklaces for six years.
"Making jewelry is fun," said Guzier.
The price ranges from about $15 to $100. People can come to the studio and buy things or the Intuit gift store and the State of Illinois Museum Shop.
Framed artwork is the most expensive, costing up to $250.
So, if you are looking for unique holiday gifts with special meaning, Little City's artists have created something for everyone.
These items are also available online.
For more information:
Center for the Arts at Little City Foundation
Little City Foundation
1760 West Algonquin Road
Palatine, IL 60067-4799
700 N. Sacramento, Suite 220
Chicago, IL 60612-1026
To purchase holiday items visit: http://www.littlecity.org/holidaygifts2010.aspx
Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art