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Spindleworks Offsite is a program for individuals with intellectual disabilities that reaches beyond the confines of a traditional studio and works directly in the community. We provide art programming that advocates for inclusion and fluidity between disability and non-disability settings. By establishing partnerships with community organizations, we offer integrated art experiences that support creative growth. We currently offer programming at the Harlow Gallery, a non-profit community art center in Hallowell. Our partnership with the Harlow represents a shared advocacy for artistic growth, community, and studio practice within the heart of the Kennebec Valley.  As members, we participate in exhibitions on a regular basis and encourage program participants to share workshops, represent their art and meet other artists.  In addition, we have partnered with Hallowell Clayworks to offer ceramics once a week in an inclusive community based ceramic studio. In January 2022 we will be partnering with Imaginarium, a collaborative immersive video project that will result in artists writing, designing, shooting, and editing a short film project using green screen.

Artistic Growth: We support individuals through personalized mentorship alongside professional artists who work to develop skills and foster artistic voice.  

Community: Art can be used as a form of communication, a method to bridge differing opinions, a safe environment to share. Social engagement happens  through community exhibitions and collaborative public programming. We support opportunity for professional development and artistic self-representation in the community. Artists interact with the community through volunteering, self-led workshops, and participation in cultural activities and events.  

Studio: We supply artists with plenty of space, high quality materials, a safe and supportive work environment with professional artistic mentorship. Our mediums include painting and drawing, textiles and weaving, writing and poetry, ceramics.  

We invite other community artists to participate in activities such as workshops, art talks, and exhibits. We also enthusiastically engage in a wide range of community artistic partnerships – from art classes to studio shares to public art events. If you’re doing art in the Kennebec Valley, we’d love to talk about ways we can partner with you to expand creative opportunities in our communities. 

Spindleworks Offsite is an extension of Spindleworks Art Center and a program of Independence Association of Brunswick, Maine, whose mission is to help children and adults with disabilities achieve full and inclusive lives in their chosen community. Spindleworks is a nationally renowned arts mentorship for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Its galleries and exhibits have welcomed art lovers as an integral part of the Brunswick downtown for more than 40 years.

Our Beginnings

In February 2011 Spindleworks held an exhibit “MOSAIC” at the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell. The warm welcome this exhibit received from the community solidified the need for a program within the Kennebec Valley to support the creative growth of individuals within the region. 

Spinoff Studios, a community support program of Independence Association, was started in December 2011 as a sister program to Spindleworks in order to support artists with intellectual disabilities to develop expressive skills and be fully included in their community.  Spinoff provided studio space, supplies and mentorship to support personal growth. The studio and gallery supported over 30 artists from the greater Kennebec Valley region.

COVID Changed Things

This well-loved program closed its space in Downtown Gardiner in August of 2020 in order to protect the health and safety of the program artists during the COVID pandemic. Independence Association remains dedicated to continuing to support the former artists of Spinoff in a new way,  removing barriers to full inclusion in the community. 

New Beginnings

The new Harlow Gallery-based programming gives artists with disabilities the choice to receive support in a fully integrated setting working alongside other community artists.

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