Sunapple Studio Advances Local Artists

Sunapple Studio, a division of ARC Industries, Inc., provides individuals with developmental disabilities opportunities to engage with the community through the creative arts. When entering the ARC Industries building, paintings and drawings created by the Sunapple artists adorn the walls. Several colorful ceramic bead works are on display, which were created by the artists, providing both tactile and therapeutic experiences. The 21 full-time artists spend several hours each week creating sculptures, mixed media pieces, paintings and even dance, under the guidance of staff and intern students from The Ohio State University and Capital University.

Sunapple Studio will be participating in an All Ohio Arts Gift Shop in the Cox Fine Art building at the Ohio State Fair August 3 – 6. The organization is partnering with Goodwill Art Studio for this event. Sunapple Studio products are also available for sale at Winterfair, as well as in several locations, including social enterprise Global Gallery Coffee Shop.Sunapple Studio Logo

In addition to earning wages, artists earn commission from the sales of their fine art pieces.

“Our initiatives are about so much more than just creating art,” said Jackie Boyle, who leads a small class that focuses on special projects, exhibitions and performances. “The impact we hope to achieve is about quality of life.”

Creatively Approaching Collaboration

Sunapple Studio seeks out collaborative experiences throughout the community. In 2016, Sunapple provided Shadowbox Live theater with a sculpture, The Ladder of Hopes and Dreams that was a collaborative work under the lead of community artist Marge Mitcham. Sunapple’s sculpture was not only displayed, but also interpreted through choreographed music and dance in Gallery of Echoes, Columbus public Art Project, with the Sunapple artists and their families invited to the performance.

The artists also held an exhibition at the Cultural Arts Center in 2015, where they showed their Hero Within,a 3D exhibit that brought their superhero characters to life. Each artist identified or created a hero character and developed pieces based on that.

Additional projects have included an art exhibition at Global Gallery in Clintonville, an instillation of large-scale paintings titled Now You See Me at the Urban Arts Space, and a dance performance at West Central, where they performed in front of teens. They have even created ornaments for Presidential Park holiday tree for Ohio.


Sunapple artists have also participated in teaching opportunities, such as the Arts & Autism Conference, which took place at the Columbus Museum of Art. The artists were featured in a break-out session led by Bare Clay, who worked with 12 autistic clients to demonstrate hands-on exploring of clay as therapy and not necessarily with the goal of creating art. They have even created ornaments for Presidential Park holiday tree for Ohio.

“We are constantly out in the community, taking trips to Polaris, nature centers, Wexner Center, zoo, looking for inspiration,” said Margo Crabtree. “Our artists take classes at Bare Clay, where one of our artists is currently employed—helping to prepare clay blocks for customers and clean supplies.”

Having been inspired by a documentary at the Wexner Center for the Arts about a group of kids who completely re-created the Raiders of the Lost Ark in the 1980s, the artists’ next project will be a film.

“Our hope is that our artists will be fully engaged and receive affirmation throughout all of these experiences in the community,” said Boyle.

Sunapple Artist Richard Furney
Sunapple Artist Richard Furney

Support Sunapple Studio

  • Sunapple artists are seeking out opportunities, activities and art classes that are integrated with the community.
  • Shop Sunapple products at stores and events.
  • Volunteer your expertise, offer space for exhibitions, or provide a venue for sales of Sunapple products.

For more information about Sunapple Studio or to volunteer, get involved or purchase art, please contact Margo Crabtree by sending an email to [email protected], or calling her at 614-342-5140.

The Center for Social Enterprise Development (CSED) maintains a directory of social enterprises throughout Central Ohio. We have developed many at-a-glance profiles for each social enterprise, intended to inform consumers, funders, impact investors and individual donors of investment-worthy causes. Here are the social enterprises we’ve identified to date, whose focus is creating social impact for individuals with developmental disabilities. We encourage you to learn more, consider supporting these organizations, or inform us of additional social enterprises that share this focus.

Central Ohio’s social enterprises dedicated to creating positive change for individuals with developmental disabilities:

ARC Industries [profile] [website]
Art & Clay on Main [profile] [website]
Citra [website]
Deaf Initiatives’ Keepsake Theme Quilts [website]
ds-connex [website]
Food for Good Thought [profile] [website]
Goodwill Columbus [website]
Kicks Mix Bookstore [profile] [website]
Lettuce Work [profile] [website]
Pearl Interactive Network [profile] [website]
Square Seven Coffee House [profile] [website]
Sunapple Kitchens [profile] [website]
Sunapple Studio [profile] [website]