BY ANNA WISHNEFF, OF JF&CS / SPECIAL FOR THE AJT//
Artworks 1You look at your calendar for next month and realize you have a baby shower one weekend, followed the next week with a housewarming and then a birthday party. With so many simchas, how can one find a way to consistently add a personal touch to each gift you give?

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Now in its second year, JF&CS’ ArtWORKS offers a creative solution to this question. The ArtWORKS team is made up of “artists” who are clients of the JF&CS Developmental Disabilities – Tools for Independence program. The program promotes its clients’ prevocational skills through the marketing of their artistic creations, while also providing a therapeutic outlet.

Instead of giving an expensive diaper cake to a soon-to-be mommy, why not give her a custom made gift basket? Available in various sizes, the custom gift baskets are made to fit nearly any budget.

The concept is simple; a customer comes to ArtWORKS with a theme, such as dinosaurs or teddy bears, and provides their preferred color scheme. The artists then go to work creating a basket that reflects what the customer has selected, and always includes a custom made acrylic art on canvas which is 8X10 or larger. Also in the basket are memorable goodies that will reinforce the theme.

“The baskets are showy and they are a lot of fun to put together, so most of the clients enjoy working on them,” says Anna Maki, Program Coordinator for TFI WORKS. “They assist in picking out the items for the basket, which is a great learning activity as we work within a budget and determine ‘best buys’.”

Custom gift baskets are the newest addition to an already impressive list of items created during this first year. Throughout the past 12 months, the artists have been busy creating other customized pieces, some of which are created from everyday recycled goods.

That housewarming you have is coming up so quick. The new homeowners are going to receive many gifts for their simcha, so make sure yours stands out. ArtWORKS artists can create a beautiful, one of a kind, custom acrylic painting, which is the perfect present.

The artists exercise their creativity as they paint vibrant, colorful works of art. Themes can range from a depiction of the four seasons, to butterflies, or even an innovative abstract design. Ranging in various sizes, it is certain that the artists will create for you a piece which will adorn a new home for many years.

But don’t forget about that upcoming birthday party. Sure, it is easy to go out and buy a gift card, but that isn’t exactly personal. Allow ArtWORKS artists to paint a beautiful custom designed pet-portrait of the birthday girl or boy’s favorite furry family member.

Provide ArtWORKS with a picture of the pet and the artists will create an original masterpiece that incorporates your selected colors, as well as a playful background theme like mice, bones or hearts.

Simchas are happy occasions which are meant to be memorable. Make sure your loved ones receive the most unforgettable gifts, ones that are specialized for just them. ArtWORKS can allow you to do just that.

Editor’s note: ArtWORKS is a program of Jewish Family & Career Services’ Developmental
Disabilities Services – Tools for Independence division. For more information and to order our custom art, visit www.artworksatl.com, or email artworks@jfcs-atlanta.org.

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