Family is amazed by Douglas Adamczak’s hidden artistic side

We’ve all been there. Your child comes home from school, and you ask what happened in class today. “Nothing,” your child replies.

Or your husband comes home at the end of the day. “How was work?” you ask. “Fine,” he says.

In both cases, you’re looking for details, but they don’t offer any. So, you’re left to assume that nothing much of interest had happened.

So it was with Barb Carr of Dunkirk back in 2008. At the time, her brother Douglas attended The Resource Center’s Day Habilitation Program in Dunkirk. Doug would call Barb twice a day, including shortly after he arrived home in the afternoon from his Day Program. Whenever Doug called, Barb would ask what he had done that day.

“Nothing,” was Doug’s standard answer.

But Barb knew better, for she was aware that her brother was involved in a variety of activities at his Day Program. Those activities included artwork, so when the Day Program held an art show in the summer of 2008, Barb and her daughters went there to check things out.

Arriving at TRC’s building on Lake Shore Drive, Barb and her daughters were struck by the marvelous paintings created by the people with intellectual disabilities who attend the program. When it was time to go and see Doug’s artwork, Barb was a bit apprehensive.

“We had seen so much talent from the other artists, and I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from Douglas,” Barb recalled. She explained that while Doug occasionally had colored an image in a book or strung together some beads to give as gifts, he never before had exhibited any artistic talent. So Barb was not prepared for what she saw when shown Doug’s paintings – wonderful works of abstract art.

“Oh, my gosh, Douglas!” Barb exclaimed. “I can’t believe you!”

Barb was asked if she and her daughters had noticed the large painting hanging on the wall at the entrance to the Day Program. Taken back to that spot, they saw another abstract painting, also created by Doug.

It was more than Barb could handle.

“I just started crying,” she said. “We didn’t know he had it in him. We were all just absolutely amazed.”

For his part, Doug was proud of his family’s reaction.

“He had a smile from ear to ear,” Barb said. “He was so proud. He was like the peacock with his feathers.”

Barb and Doug’s mother had been unable to attend the art show, so Barb immediately called to tell her about Doug’s painting talent.

“You’re kidding me,” their mother said.

This Kodak moment among Doug and his family serves as an example of the miraculous power of art. Particularly for people with disabling conditions, many of whom may not be able to shine and excel in other areas, art provides an outlet for individuals to display their creative sides and express their feelings. The Resource Center’s art program has provided opportunities for Doug and many other people with disabilities to develop into talented artists.

Please help us provide more opportunities for people with disabilities to create amazing art. Click here to make a donation to the Edgewater Art House, the future home of our art program.

(NOTE: Douglas Adamczak passed away in December 2018 at the age of 60. In addition to being an artist, Doug was an avid sports fan who occasionally contributed a sports trivia column for inclusion The Resource Center’s staff newsletter.)

Douglas Adamczak and his mother, Janet, display one of his paintings.