Grace is a girl with Down syndrome, on a mission to use her artwork as a platform for increasing special needs awareness and create “a culture of kindness and inclusion.” Towards that mission, and with the help of her mother, Bonnie, Grace has built her own small business! Her online shop is called GracePlace Art, specializing in greeting card sets with Grace’s original collections printed on them! GracePlace Art is set to launch officially on Monday the 11th of January! Needless to say, she is very excited!
Grace started playing with paints and markers at around eight years old when she was gifted her very first ‘big girl desk.’ Since then, art has become her safe space. “It is therapeutic for Grace,” Bonnie explained, “helping her to relax and to cope when she’s feeling anxious or overwhelmed.”
Not to mention the fact that she’s actually quite passionate about it! “Whenever she sits down to ‘do her Work’ she’s always happy, always smiling,” said Bonnie. “Simultaneously it gives us all the opportunity to bond as a family and get creative together! It really has been so much fun to watch her grow and see her talent unfold over the years.”
Paying It Forward With Greeting Cards
While they knew her art needed to be shared, Grace and Bonnie put a lot of heart into exactly how they would accomplish this goal. The hope was to figure out a way to get Grace’s story and mission out into the world, touching as many people as possible.
It was then that the concept of greeting cards took hold. Why not turn Grace’s artwork into something that you buy with the sole intention of giving away? And so their journey began, making sets of greeting cards with a ‘pay it forward’ mindset.
According to Grace and Bonnie, “Each set of cards is made to be given with love. Each card to be written and sent just the same. A sort of kindness revolution, so to speak. Sweet words, scribbled on paper, sent out to the world.”
Awareness and Inclusion
GracePlace Art works intentionally to promote inclusion at home, giving Grace the opportunity to not only pursue her passion but also learn skills that will serve her as she grows and takes on new projects.
Still, “while efforts at home are important, they are not enough,” Bonnie explained. “Awareness and inclusion are necessary beyond the home and in the world at large.”
Grace and Bonnie plan to connect and collaborate with organizations that share similar values, offering donations and support whenever possible. Furthermore, Grace hopes that her story will empower the special needs community, offering representation, and a reminder that no dream is too big to chase!