'Definitely got me a little bit more excited about the Olympics'
EUGENE, Ore. - The Olympic games are just one week away, and Kesey Square is decorated for the occasion.
The paintings are meant to honor Eugene's track history and this Olympic year, but they also have special meaning for the artists who are able to join in the community excitement even when verbal communication is difficult.
Perry Johnson, who painted the Prefontaine picture, said he’s excited for the Olympics.
And those passing by the square, share in that excitement.
"When I first saw them a couple days ago I thought they were really cool,” Forest Grisel said. “Definitely got me a little bit more excited about the Olympics.”
Johnson is part of the arts and culture program within the Oregon Supported Living Program.
“We have people here who love sports and who are very active and we as well as many Eugenians were excited about the track and field trials,” said his art teacher Sterling Israel.
“His artwork is something that he can show a lot of pride, he can get a lot of feedback from other people without having to put forth a bunch of words.”
Israel said the display is about connecting with the community and showing great works of art.
“There's a way to show growth and development,” she said. “Traditionally people have been misaligned as oh you have a disability you're stuck at a certain level which is absolutely untrue and I can prove that visually to people.”
The display is part of a partnership with the city and the artists receive a stipend for their work.
The Oregon Supported Living Program offers art classes, workshops and exhibitions.
Israel said it’s an inclusive program, open to people of all abilities.