Art Created for a Cause: Lock & Key Partners with Friends Life Community

Part 1: 

This season, I'm thankful for many things: One, the opportunity to put on another creative hat and design and help create the costumes for Centennial Youth Ballet’s production of The Mini Nutcracker.  Being able further my design skills has been really rewarding... but that is for another blog post. Two, the joy of launching my fall Stardust series. That, you can shop now. :) And three, a creative journey that has helped to bring new enthusiasm to both of these projects: My partnership with Friends Life Community, a local non-profit that helps teenagers and adults with disabilities to develop socially, grow personally, and enjoy community as they experience life together.

 www.friendslife.org

www.friendslife.org

Although most of us aren't "disabled" according to the true definition of the word, I do believe that every single person has a disability of some kind — whether it be a physical limitation, personal trouble, or social fear that limits their ability to develop for the better. I know that I myself struggled with my "disability" as a male dancer in my teenage years. I felt like an outsider among my peers, and was treated differently than other kids simply because I didn't fit into a common mold. At Friends Life Community, each participant — known simply as a "Friend" — faces these challenges on a much deeper and more frequent basis.

Their motto “Together we are Extraordinary” continues to ground me in the process of our co-creations.  

 Program Specialist Sarah Blosser creating with some of the Friends on a creative adventure. 

Program Specialist Sarah Blosser creating with some of the Friends on a creative adventure. 

When I connected with Waverly, the executive director of Friends Life, and heard about their initiative to generate thoughtful revenue by partnering with local makers, I knew the Lock & Key would be a great partner. I have to say the meeting took place at a local Nashville haunt, Fido's, over Bongo Java's beet chocolate chip muffin. Needless to say mine was gone in maybe thirty seconds.  If you've looked at any of my jewelry pieces, you'll know that each one is inspired by a story — and I had a hunch that the Friends at Friends Life had stories worthy of being shared. Waverly and I agreed to form a partnership where a percentage of sales from my special Friends Life Community-inspired collection would go directly to the organization and the friends themselves. Using these funds, Friends Life Community will be able to provide more resources and support for the Friends, who participate in educational, social, and community programs on a weekly basis.

 Where it all began. Can't be bad.

Where it all began. Can't be bad.

Next stage was the big kick off… but you’ll have to come back next week to find out more and if pom poms and a glue gun are a good combination.

Tony Perrin