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Willows Way Celebrating 5th Anniversary of Art of Wine Fundraiser

Event showcases artistic talents of area adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities

(St. Charles, MO, Sept. 5, 2018) St. Charles-based Willows Way, a non-profit organization providing support to area adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), will celebrate its 5th annual Art of Wine event 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25 at EdgeWild Restaurant & Winery in Chesterfield, MO.

Tickets to the event cost $45 each and can be purchased online at

During the event, Art of Wine attendees are treated to wine and appetizers and have an opportunity to purchase original photographs and paintings created by clients in Willows Way's Mentor Arts program and photography club. The artists receive 100% of the proceeds from the sale of their art. This year, the event will feature original works from six photographers and five painters.

“This is the coolest event! Their talent blows me away and the thrill of watching the artists sell their work is something you won't forget. You'll meet the artists, fall in love with one their pieces and walk away with an amazing story to tell,” said Willows Way Executive Director Joy Steele.

Participants in the Mentor Arts program are taught by various professional artists on how to select subject matter, mix paints and use different brush stroke techniques.

Willows Way client Bethany has been a participant in the Mentor Arts program and Art of Wine event since both started in 2014. She earned around $200 from the sale of her paintings at last year’s event.

“I love drawing and painting and I love the art shows we have,” she said. “This year, I have been doing more challenging pictures than before. My teachers have taught me how to bring out the picture and what to draw.”

Participants in the photography club meet regularly and participate in various photo shoot outings throughout the St. Charles and St. Louis areas. In the past, the photography club has visited the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, The Butterfly House in Faust Park, Soulard Market, a horse farm and 370 Lakeside Park in St. Peters. Professional photographers volunteer their time to mentor the clients and chaperone their photo shoots.

Willows Way client and Art of Wine participant Ellen has been in the photography club for the past three years, and has also published her first children’s book, “Andy’s Magical Ears”, which she also plans to sell at this year’s event.

Ellen’s sister, Jamie Hoffman, says Ellen’s participation in the photography club has inspired her sister to see the world differently and to feel proud about the art that she is creating.

“It is an achievement for the participants because they are selling something that they created through their own imagination and skill, and they don’t get that opportunity very often,” said Hoffman. “Now, when we are out and about and Ellen sees an object, she looks at it differently. She tries to look at the object from different angles, focusing on the abstract nature of the object rather than just taking a snapshot. I notice that Ellen becomes more alive and opens up more when she is taking pictures, and I see her really enjoying the artistic value of it.” 

About Willows Way

Willows Way promotes independence and personal growth for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) through a variety of social-service programs. These include: Realities, which provides up to eight hours of individualized services per week; Individualized Supported Living, which provides up to 24-hour-a-day support to allow individuals to live independently based on their needs and goals; Reaching Independence Through Social Engagement (RISE), which offers participants daily structured activities designed to promote social networking, community involvement, volunteerism and physical activities; Individualized Skills Development/Community Integration, which offers services to build independent living skills while developing friendships and community connections; and Project HEART, which provides stimulating, person-centered health education classes, skills training and resource information. For more information about Willows Way, visit or call 636-947-6591.