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Wood County Society using IPads to expand its services

Tracy, an artist with the Artbeat Studio holds one of his paintings. This piece along with other works of art will be available at the Art from the Heart Shop. (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — Wood County Society, a local non-profit organization that broadens opportunities for individuals with disabilities throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley Region, is expanding its resources to meet the needs of the community.

Wood County Society will expand its Special Assistance Program to bring assistive technology to individuals with disabilities as well as expanding the Artbeat Studio to include the Art from the Heart Shop.

“Wood County Society is honored to have the support of the Congregation of St. Joseph for the expansion of our Assistive Technology Program,” said Executive Director Brandon Gress.

According to Gress, over the last month, the Congregation of St. Joseph awarded Wood County Society $5,000 to purchase IPad tablets to kick off the Assistive Technology Program.

Gress said the funding received also will support data connection through Verizon Wireless.

Artists at the Artbeat Studio have been working on pieces of art such as this, which will be for sale at the Art from the Heart Shop. (Photo Provided)

“Wood County Society recognizes the distinct need for additional resources in our community,” said Gress.

Assistive technology enables youth and adults with disabilities to compensate for certain limitations.

“This specialized assistive technology program will assist our community in gaining and promoting independence and decrease for other supports,” said Gress.

Gress said Wood County Society has sought funding to purchase additional assistive technology to expand the initiative even more.

“Our mission allows us to continue to build upon and meet the needs of our community,” said Gress. “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought forth change and has established distinct needs — and we are willing and able to rise up to meet those needs one program at a time.”

Among other resources Wood County Society continues to provide, Wood County Society will celebrate its first anniversary in its new location with the grand opening of the Artbeat Studio Art from the Heart Shop.

“Since the grand opening of our new facility, the Artbeat Studio has collaborated to bring the arts community together,” said Gress.

The Artbeat Studio is a collaborative community arts center located at Wood County Society. The backbone of the Artbeat Studio is a group of talented artists with developmental differences creating masterpieces from up-cycled materials.

According to Gress, this collaborative process fosters “accessibility, inclusion, abundance and compassion to ensure that the communities are unified through art”.

An example of the inclusion within the community that can be seen are the banners that adorn Market Street. These were designed by artists with the Artbeat studio.

“We are ecstatic to showcase and highlight that talent our artists have in our community and what a better opportunity to celebrate inclusive opportunities than through our Art from the Heart Shop,” said Gress.

Gress said Wood County Society is working to expand its collaboration with Downtown PKB, the city of Parkersburg, the Parkersburg Art Center, Artbridge as well as the Arts Collaborative of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

“We are connecting and providing inclusive and extensive opportunities for our artists now and in the future,” said Gress.

The Wood County Society Artbeat Studio Art from the Heart Shop will celebrate its grand opening with Downtown PKB on Aug. 20 and 21 at Wood County Society at 317 Eighth St.

Artists earn a commission from the sales.

“Wood County Society Board of Directors, our community, program participants, our donors and our collaborative agency partners are the backbone to assisting in expanding our mission throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley. Wood County Society is honored to have the support of our community for over 61 years and we look forward to expanding our resources to meet the needs of our community even more in the future,” said Gress.

Madeline Scarborough can be reached at mscarborough@newsandsentinel.com

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