I currently work for human services. I work within the residential field, and I work with adults who have developmental disabilities and some who have autism, and I assist with the clinical team in supervising their support services. There's a lot of detective work in what I do, because I work with people who might have barriers to communication, and you have to be able to brainstorm and observe very closely what somebody is saying with their body, with their expression, with noises they might make, and I think having that creative mindset and the training in observing very closely helps me in that sense.
In my own art work, I try to look at things from many different perspectives. I don't think you can isolate yourself from the things that you're passionate about. What inspires me with the work that I currently do is the opportunity for communication that the creative arts have opened up. There are people who are on the autism spectrum and have limited social skills and limited verbal skills, but we've built relationships together through the use of our art materials. To have people in that group ask me if their friend is coming to the group is one of the best moments that I've had, and it's nothing to do with what they're making, but it is showing that that relationship has been built together through marking art, and having something in common with someone.
There are people I work with who have brought so much more to me than I could possibly have brought to them. Just to be part of that world and to see something through someone else's eyes, it's a really poignant thing. I don't think I give them inspiration. I think that they give that to me, and drive me on to keep doing the work that I do.
[b]About Anna[/b]: Anna Copland is a dedicated human services professional who works with adults and children who have developmental disabilities. Anna has fine art training and co-curates an arts project which gives people served by her agency access to good quality arts materials and artistic mentors. This project culminates in an annual exhibition in Chelsea, Manhattan and has also exhibited in downtown Brooklyn and on Governors Island. Over the last 5 years this project has grown through the hard work of volunteers and celebrated the work of over 150 participating artists.