Epic is a non-profit that has been serving adults with disabilities for 38 years. Epic’s clients are 18 years old and older and experience a wide range of challenges including developmental, physical, emotional, sensory and learning disabilities, as well as traumatic brain injuries. Many have multiple diagnoses including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Epic offers job skills training, placement, employment coaching and transportation to and from minimum or lower paying jobs.
Z Puppets is partnering again with Epic to reconnect with our original group of arts learners from 2014 and deepen their experience with MMP. Our project builds on the puppetry, singing and mindfulness skills they learned during our previous residency by providing them opportunities to further develop their roles as Sailors in workshops, guest-starring as the Chorus in public performances at Dakota County and Faribault libraries. Participants will learn the skills and discipline necessary to sustain multiple shows. Epic performers will receive a stipend equal to or more than the pay of their daily jobs. As participants discover new skills and hone their artistic discipline, they will also deepen their mindfulness practice, sharpening their creative tools for coping with stress and improving self-esteem.
Z Puppets will also present free arts and mindfulness outreach workshops for youth and adults of all abilities at the four libraries. The workshops will feature Epic Sailors modeling MMP’s calming techniques. Combined with the performances, this project will increase the number of Minnesotans witnessing the artistic triumph of Epic clients, raising the awareness of the capabilities of people with special needs. Epic Sailors will demonstrate that people with “disabilities” are full of artistic possibilities.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.