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Someone You Should Know: Project Onward

 (CBS) -- They are artists with exceptional talent, but they also have mental or developmental disabilities. A special program helps them find a market for their artwork.

CBS 2's Harry Porterfield says everyone at Project Onward is someone you should know.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a thousand words cannot fully describe the atmosphere in which these dedicated artists work.

This is the studio and gallery of Project Onward, located in the Bridgeport Art Center.

"We decided to start a program that would be a next step for talented students who came through Gallery 37," says Rob Lentz, executive director of Project Onward.

Gallery 37 is the city's art program for teens, including those with disabilities. The challenge is, Lentz says, "If you are a student with disability, once you graduate from high school, all of the services and supports that were afforded to you during your schooling go away."

Currently, 60 artists are involved in Project Onward, which receives no government assistance. Artists receive 50 percent of the proceeds from the sale of their art.

"The artists are selected primarily through a portfolio review," Lentz says. "We're really interested in the quality of the art work, the commitment that the artist shows towards making artwork."

Blake Lenoir has been with the program since it began.

"Every time I draw a picture, it takes me to a place I've never been to before, without leaving home," he says.

For more information, click here.

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