A tip of the hat to Art Oasis

Studio serving people with special needs earns 2019 ‘best of’ honor from Grafton Award Program

ART OASIS, a studio for people with special needs that’s based out of New Life Community Church in Grafton, received the 2019 Best of Grafton Award for an organization from the Grafton Award Program. Art Oasis Director Kerry Pratt (standing) worked on art projects with (from left) students Kaylin Hull and Ruth Haggith, volunteer Michelle Gasirowski and student Jacob Opitz. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

Art Oasis, an art studio for people with special needs, recently received the 2019 Best of Grafton Award for an organization from the Grafton Award Program. 

“This is our first award, and it’s a great recognition of our program for how far it’s come along in the past five years,” Art Oasis director Kerry Pratt said.

In a press release, the Grafton Award Program stated it “identifies companies that enhance the positive image of small businesses through service to their customers and our community.” 

The art studio is based out of New Life Community Church, 1402 Seventh Ave., and serves 14 students with four classes per week.

“Most of our students are on the high-functioning end on the special-needs spectrum,” Pratt said. “We also have students with seizure disorders and other limited abilities.”

Students range in age from 10 to 55, but most are in their mid-20s. 

“It’s open to everybody. Most of our clients went to high school together either in Grafton or in the Northern Ozaukee School District,” Pratt said. “Our niche is to serve students after high school so they can still have classes and continue to learn.”

The studio offers an array of media, from painting to mosaics. 

“We do a little bit of everything,” Pratt said. “We encourage students to bring in ideas, and we’re open to any type of art.”

Pratt said the artwork is displayed and sold at community events and galleries, such as the Ozaukee County Fair and the Pink Llama Gallery in downtown Cedarburg. 

In November, North Shore Bank in Grafton will have some of the students’ artwork on exhibit.

“Not only do the students take art classes, they also sell their artwork and get 100% of the proceeds,” Pratt said. “We try to get them out in the community so they can meet with people and talk about their art.”

Mary Pipp, a former Grafton resident whose daughter has special needs, founded the studio in Cedarburg. Pratt took over as program director five years ago and moved the program to Grafton when the church relocated.

“We carried on the torch for her, and this award carries on Mary’s legacy at our studio,” Pratt said.

Pratt said the Art Oasis program is to serve people of all abilities and faith.

“We are dedicated to helping people who want to serve the community and display their talents no matter what their life situation is,” Pratt said.




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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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