April 29, 2016 at 1:30pm

Find your Voice

Blue Connection, Millikin University's student-run retail art gallery, located at 117 N. Water St. in Decatur, Ill., will host "Find your Voice," on Friday, May 6, from 5 – 7:30 p.m. The event, free and open to the public, is Blue Connection's May After 5 Live event.

The event will highlight the work of featured artist Jarrett Sekosky. Sekosky is a non-verbal autistic young man that paints to express himself. Sekosky has been able to navigate through his disability that has impaired his ability to communicate. He utilizes a plethora of acrylic colors to create visually appealing works that are often linear.

Blue ConnectionBecause of his experience, Jarrett Sekosky's family and supporters sought a way to offer other individuals with disabilities in the Decatur community a chance to learn and create art to express themselves.

Through partnerships with the Decatur Area Arts Council, MRi, Macon-Piatt Special Education and the local Kiwanis Chapter, Sekosky was able to kickstart an art program called Our Voice Through Art. The main objective is to expose and teach art mediums to students. By learning about the different mediums, each student has a chance to find his or her niche.

Partial proceeds from the Blue Connection event on May 6 will go towards the program inspired by Jarrett's success through his own art exploration.

Millikin student Natalie Wolfe, a senior art major from Island Lake, Ill., helps Sekosky with his artwork. "Jarrett expresses himself through his artwork by painting, drawing and various other mediums," Wolfe said. "Doing art is not only important for him to express himself, but to help support others with mental disabilities."

Opened in 2003, Blue Connection is Millikin University's student-run retail art gallery located in the Madden Arts Center in Downtown Decatur. Focused on arts and specialty businesses, the retail location is used by students in Millikin's Arts & Entrepreneurship Program to grow their businesses. Products are conceived, designed and/or crafted by the students who sell them.

Blue Connection

Millikin's Arts & Entrepreneurship Program is a six-credit course sequence providing learning-based business opportunities for students to practice self-employment. The program utilizes curricular-based, experiential activities and student-run ventures to give students a live laboratory experience in developing, launching and growing a business. Rather than learn before doing, students are expected to learn while doing by first launching a micro-venture in the program's introductory course The Art of Entrepreneurship. Then, students explore growth though Blue Connection.

For further information on Millikin University's Blue Connection, visit millikin.edu/blue-connection, facebook.com/blueconnection, or contact the gallery at 217.428.0112.