Edmonton art studio hosts exhibit for artists with Down Syndrome

A unique exhibit began Saturday at Studio YEGR that includes 21 artists showcasing what makes them special — they all have down syndrome.

Nine-year-old Jordan Grace MacKeigan is one of those artists. Her contributing piece titled “Down Syndrome Karyotype” is a colourful painting that features what makes her unique.

“Makes me happy,” said Jordan Grace, holding up her painting.

Organizer Maria MacKeigan started the event to show the community that having Down Syndrome doesn’t hold a person back — something she wishes she knew when her daughter, Jordan Grace, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

Read more: World Down Syndrome Day hopes to improve community awareness and inclusion

“They told me that she wouldn’t be able to do anything, basically, and our lives are pretty much over. So, it was really scary to me,” MacKeigan recalled.

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That couldn’t be further from the truth for her daughter and many others with Down Syndrome, like entrepreneur Julia Zylia.

Zylia has created a business out of her passion for baking cookies. She’s even hired five employees with disabilities for her company: Treats by Special P.

The company, whose motto is “A special place, for special people to do special things,” makes five different kinds of cookies, but Zylia has a definite favourite.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton teen living with Down syndrome fulfills basketball dream'

Edmonton teen living with Down syndrome fulfills basketball dream

“I like chocolate,” she said.

MacKeigan says she hopes this weekend’s event serves as a reminder to the community that people with Down Syndrome are just people.

“More people (should) see what they can do, what they’re capable of doing and how beautiful their lives are. Jordan Grace, my daughter, has a zest for life. She shows me more about life than anybody has ever done before.

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“It’s not about what she can do for us or for society — she’s human, just like you and me and she needs to be accepted for who she is.”

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