Building bridges

Saratoga Bridges works with developmentally disabled to provide opportunities

Sarah Baker at the art studio of Creative Endeavors showing her painting, "The Mermaid and the Fish".

Sarah Baker at the art studio of Creative Endeavors showing her painting, "The Mermaid and the Fish". Photo by Julie Cushine-Rigg.

— She may not remember playing those instruments or her love of music, but the influences of art in her life are still very much present. This affinity she has for art is seen especially when she’s in the art studio at 49 Front St. in Ballston Spa at Creative Endeavors. Her long road to relearning how to walk, talk and move has granted her the ability to participate in many things in an active way. 

Creative Endeavors is one of those many services and programs offered by Saratoga Bridges, giving the disabled the chance to partake in the creative arts.

On a sunny Monday morning, Baker and Lena Benvenuto, art coordinator at Creative Endeavors, sat down to talk about Baker’s painting during one of the twice-weekly classes she takes at the center.

“I like the colors and using the paints. It’s a lot of fun,” she said. Her work includes a lot of vibrant colors, swirls, tendrils and movement.

Benvenuto has been with Saratoga Bridges for almost five years, and has been at Creative Endeavors for three. The art is not meant to be as a therapy, she said, though it is therapeutic in and of itself, but rather the goal is for artistic expression and just being creative.

“Seeing people’s development is amazing and it gives them a chance to show off their skills. It’s tremendously rewarding. We also do a lot of shows in public places,” said Benvenuto, adding that exhibitions help in raising awareness of the abilities of disabled individuals to the community.

Baker is a young woman full of character and spirit, and that is very much reflected in what she’s done in the past several years. According to Polacsek, Baker has graduated from Bridges to taking classes at Skidmore College and spends time volunteering with many community businesses and organizations including Meals on Wheels, HOPE (Homes for Orphaned Pests Exist), Saratoga County Animal Shelter and Adopt a Soldier.

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