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Volunteers team up with adults with developmental disabilities to bring a yarn 'explosion' to downtown Canton

Yarn Canton
Posted at 4:36 PM, Jul 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-01 18:16:14-04

CANTON, Ohio — A yarn "explosion" currently spans two blocks through the heart of downtown Canton's Art District — it's the latest art exhibition from Just Imagine, a group that allows adults with developmental disabilities to express themselves through art.

In the front of the Just Imagine Gallery, you'll a see a colorful storefront with art of all types, but in the back, you'll find the ladies behind it.

“This is a disability services provider within Stark County. We serve just over 400 individuals with developmental disabilities here at Just Imagine,” said Rachel Doty, The Just Imagine Marketing manager.

Through their program, they encourage individuals to explore their artistic abilities and they can sell that art for profit.

“It's very important, just like you and I are pursuing our own career interests. It's important for adults with developmental disabilities to have those opportunities to pursue their career interests as well,” said Doty.

One of those individuals is Phyllis McDoucar; she’s pretty good at knitting and she does it fast.

“I did 30 of those things and a couple of small blankets,” said Phyllis.

Phyllis wanted to expand her artistic ability even further, so Rachel brought up yarn bombing and she loved it.

“So she's been working with a group of over 30 volunteers for about three months now,” said Doty.

With what they call the "Dream Team," they got to work, creating more than 400 pieces for their yarn explosion over a span of three months.

“You can see huge pieces that Phyllis made, but I made this one or another volunteer made this one. It's literally a massive mash-up of a bunch of different people's work,” said Laura Hollis, a volunteer with Just Imagine.

Amber Frenz has been a part of Just Imagine for nearly three years.

“What I take from knitting is it's relaxing and helps me like forget about the rest of the world,” said Frenz.

She, like everyone else, has been putting in the work for Friday's show, hoping it'll take people's breath away as they cover every piece of downtown Canton.

“I expect them to get mesmerized by it all, and all the hard work that we've done and the volunteers have done,” said Frenz.

The impressive display is a reminder for everyone that those with disabilities are not different than anyone else.

“I always say that adults with developmental disabilities are no different than people without — people of all abilities have the same dreams and goals in life and programs,” said Doty.

The exhibit will span two blocks through downtown Canton.

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