Vista Hill, a non-profit service organization headquartered in San Diego, helps individuals with challenges resulting from mental illness, substance use disorder or intellectual and developmental disabilities. Its services extend to all age groups and include coping, training, living, and enhancement programming.

Since art is often used as an enrichment and therapeutic endeavor, SDAI has been partnering with Vista Hill Foundation since 2016 to offer quality art experiences to Vista Hill clients. Each time, partnering has been made possible through a generous grant from the California Arts Council.

Beginning in September 2018, SDAI arranged for artists Walter Sutin and Karla Duarte to teach at four Vista Hill locations (Kearny Mesa, Chula Vista, La Mesa, and Mission Valley) where they worked with adults with disabilities to encourage expression and personal growth. There have been discussions about art and art materials as well as active engagement in art-making with flowers, papier-mâché, hula hoops, and found objects.

Though this year’s program will continue through June 2019, it is already considered highly rewarding by both teachers and participants. There has been a group tour of SDAI (with a second tour coming), an exhibition of participants’ work at Vista Hill’s Gala last December.

Most importantly, the SDAI Art Access partnership made use of the power of art to promote skills, enhance communication, and support individual growth and imagination.

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