On October 8, Project Onward commemorated the grand opening of their new ceramic studio. The studio was made possible by the Virginia A. Groot Foundation’s three-year grant contribution and Project Onward’s unwavering passion for allowing artists of all abilities to create art at no cost.

“Following the vision of our founder, Candice B. Groot, the Virginia A. Groot Foundation has maintained a long history of supporting both emerging and established artists through yearly competitive grants and residencies. We are so pleased to partner with Project Onward in providing space and programming for their talented sculptors,” says Virginia A. Groot President, Nina Latusek.

Project Onward, a non-profit organization that works with over 60 artists with developmental disabilities to create art in a safe, supportive environment, expanded its studio space to the fifth floor of the Bridgeport Arts Center— located at 1200 W 35th Street in Chicago, as its first ceramic workspace. With the Groot Grant, the studio expansion was built from the ground up, along with a generous amount of pottery wheels, kilns, and supplies.

“Project Onward exists to give artists with disabilities a “visual voice” to tell their stories and change the perceptions of the world. Project Onward is a studio and gallery dedicated to the creative growth of adult artists whose lives are impacted by mental illness and developmental disabilities. Our non-profit studio is inclusive, and we embrace artists with a wide range of life experiences,” said Nancy Gomez of Project Onward’s Executive Director.

Artists and members from both organizations gathered to celebrate the studio’s grand opening with a ceremonious ribbon cutting that opened up the 900-square-foot space. Project Onward artists in attendance included Cheryll Booker, Janno JuguilonRJ Juguilon, and Shandrewick Key. Project Onward’s mission of growing its family of artists and expanding its outreach to artists who prefer a more tactile form of artistry is a testament to the Virginia A. Groot Foundation’s continual mission of fostering a culture of creativity everywhere, for everyone.

Congratulations to Project Onward on this exciting new initiative!


See the feature story on NBC 5 News: Bridgeport Art Gallery Opens New Ceramic Studio to Help Adults With Disabilities

Visit Project Onward’s Website: Learn More