Don’t miss out on Art of Accessibility this upcoming Friday, February 2, 2018. Folks from within the people with disabilities community from the local Colorado Springs area will have a night to show off their art work. Below are profiles for the artists who will be featured. If your interested, the gallery will be open from 5:00pm to 8:00pm.

Artist Profiles


Heather Combs

Heather CombsChristian free-lance writer and novelist. A “Survivor of Suicide(s)” & witness to violent suicide. “Life changed for (pen-name) Amber Cote when her fiancée shot himself in the head while she was newly pregnant with their first baby. From that horrific moment on, she draws on her own experiences to search out hope in seemingly hopeless situations. “Teardrops” propels the reader within Amber’s experiences and details how she came to an acceptance, and even a highly spiritual understanding of multiple family suicides and tragedies. She also advocate for life and individuals with Down syndrome. Including Down syndrome reformation of policies & education. She currently has eight networking pages, with a following of over 9,000+ and works assisting ‘staff’ and families in more than 13 countries. “He who saves one life, saves the world entire.




Juli Rich

Juli RichJuli Rich entered the Creative Expressions program in 2014 after 3 major surgeries that left her in poor physical and mental health. The combination of art and therapy allowed her to recover at her own pace. She has had previous experience with some art mediums. In the past she rarely thought of her art works and processes as important. But now it’s part of her life and her wellbeing journey. She is able to combine her love of animals and watercolors into a lifelong coping tool and skill. The AspenPointe Creative Expressions program allows her to explore many other different mediums. She is looking forward to exploring more possibilities in the future.



Matt Getze

  • Matt GetzeMatt Getze is a traveler, videographer, photographer and foodie.
  • His film, “Study Abroad in Africa” will be screened upstairs on 2.2 at 7pm.
  • The film is of college students from various universities studying in Uganda and Rwanda in East Africa. It captures their stories as well as the stories of native Ugandans and Rwandans. It touches on themes of social enterprises and sustainability, changing perceptions, need for experience, and change.




Helena Brown

Helena BrownHelena came from Romania and worked as a wood carving artists for years. She paints with watercolor and acrylics to feel relax and peaceful. She finds living in America very inspiring and she wants to tell her stories through her paintings. She also likes to go out with her girlfriends and play with her grandchildren.






Bryan York

I am a Portrait Photographer transplanted from Oregon and recently relocated to Colorado Springs. I have been involved with photography for more than ten years. I am always amazed at the new things I learn and the great people I meet.

When I was three and a half I was diagnosed with a brain tumor and given little chance of survival. By the grace of God, I was healed. Most recently that story expanded.

After we moved to Colorado in early 2015, I was hospitalized. To our surprise we learned that I had suffered from a minor stroke at the age of 28. Little did I know I would be spending the next several years giving my best and trying to recover from the effects of the stroke.

I am still fighting the good fight in my recovery and look at each day as a blessing. I faithfully share what God had done in my life with those who make time to listen. Truly, none of us know how much time we have in this life. We have to live each moment to the fullest and value the time we are given. Personally, I see each moment and encounter with my subject(s) as a blessing and chance to leave an impression on their lives.

What kind of impression will you leave?



Jodi Whitman

Jodi WhitmanJody Whitman began her artwork sketching and using pastels as a child.  Her medium progressed into oils and acrylics as a teenager and young adult.  Until recently, her art laid dormant for most of her life.  She was honored to have her artwork featured as the 2017 January cover of the Colorado Springs Independent newspaper.  Currently, she is studying watercolors under Kim Nguyen.








Christi V

Christi V. is a native of Colorado Springs, CO. She was born, raised on the Westside and she graduated from the “school of hard knocks.” She was raised with three key things: God, family and education. She considers herself as a novice at being an artist. Christi likes to communicate with her faith and her arts as coping skills for emotions releases and expressions of her love for life. She also loves all forms of arts such as dance and music. She has a great sense of humor, a big heart and she treasures her family as her most important possession. She is grateful for the opportunity to learn and practice creative expression skills under Kim Nguyen. She considers Kim is the “key” to unlock Christi’s talent and giving her a platform to express feelings. Kim Nguyen also is a motivation force for Christi to find her strengths through life journey.




Dori Reay

Dori ReayDori Reay’s artworks are about diversity. They portray the rich colors, dramatic moods and vibrant quality of light. Dori has overcame multiple difficulties in all aspects of her life. These include mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and financial issues in her life. Time. Her paintings tell stories of her hope for the future.








Leanna Christopher

Leanna ChristopherLeanna Christopher attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh with a digital design diploma, and ECPI MCI obtaining an Associate Degree in Medical Administration. She has traveled overseas to Europe and Egypt enjoying 14 different Countries. She loved viewing all the architectural and expressive arts available. She has raised three beautiful children and has one grandson.

Currently she is enjoying studying Art therapy with Aspen Print under the Instruction of the very talented Kim Nguyen.




Nina Rosa

Art has been a beloved part of my life since I was a child. My favorite media is the written word and figurative sculpture. This is my first painting class. As Kim’s pupil, I produced 2D art in watercolor and acrylic. In fact, the pieces before you are my very first pieces.

I have been a student at the Metropolitan University, the UNAM and the University of Wisconsin. I am currently initiating a practice on holistic care in downtown Colorado Springs. Mysticism is the root of my life and the center of my endeavors. My family and I have been in Colorado Springs for 4 months and excited to participate in the many activities it offers. I came to Colorado with my sons to enjoy the outdoors. We hike, bike, rock climb, scuba dive, skydive, sky and try new things at every opportunity.

My art is a reflection of the spiritual process I am undergoing. From meditation to voyaging the extensive beauty of the dreamtime (As it is called by the Native Americans). Also the feelings it inspires within me: love, joy, bliss, unity and timelessness. Awakening to that which exists beyond the veil of our every day perceptions. I am excited to in the future gain sufficient artistic ability to share that which I have the privilege to explore on the other side of existence. Namaste.



Vivian Hymer

Vivian HymerI am an entrepreneur in college.  Currently, I am studying business at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.  About a year ago, I started my sole proprietorship called “Vivian’s Creations”: an art business based on custom orders and different mediums.  I started Vivian’s Creations because I’ve always been passionate about art.  Sadly, numerous people told me that my art business would never succeed.  So far, my art business has been quite successful locally: I have made numerous custom painting; glazed plates for other small businesses; and created chartering jewelry for a service fraternity.  Being a part of the art community is a pleasure and an honor.  I hope my business will continue to prosper, and that my art will bring happiness to many.



Sandie Martinez

Sandie Martinez has a history of childhood abuses. Abandonment is one of the issues that she struggled with all her life. When Sandie started the AspenPointe Creative Expressions program, she felt belonged and accepted for who she is. She also finds painting with watercolor and acrylics gives her a sense of grounding and at peace with herself. Sandie finally has found a voice in her images that she created.


Kim Nguyen

Kim NguyenKim Nguyen attained a BFA from LSU in 1990 and a Master of Science in Art Therapy at Mount Mary College in 1996. She has been working with adult mental health population since 1986 in various facilities and hospitals. She’s an intuitive/expressive artist who uses her paintings to heal and raise awareness. Since 2001, Ms. Nguyen developed and managed Creative

Expressions program at Aspen Pointe using the arts to help mental health clients, military personnel & family members in order to bring about healing from trauma. She has facilitated numerous workshops, classes and retreats in Colorado, New Hampshire and Maine. She served on the Imagination Celebration board, contributed in the Colorado Springs Asian Committee, and curated for the Hillside Community Center ARTSpace Gallery. Ms. Nguyen was awarded one of thirteen 2014 Women of Influence in Colorado Springs by the Colorado Springs Business Journal. She was nominated as one of Colorado Springs Outstanding Establish Artist in 2017. Currently she works at Aspen Pointe – Creative Expressions services, teaches art and spirituality at Bemis School of Arts and joins her husband in the Colorado Springs Permanent Deacon Formation Program.


Trista Rodriguez

Trista RodriguezTrista Rodriguez is the CEO of TYLA JADE LLC, JADE Photography, Media, Design and co-founder of the DAISY ORG for Alzheimer nonprofit. Creative Artist, Published Author, Web Designer, with 15-plus years of experience, and technical expertise to execute online strategies for real world needs. Cancer/Life survivor, disabled mother of three children.





Kate Langworthy

Kate Langworthy started painting a few years ago as a way to cope with mental and physical health challenges. Through the Creative Expressions program at Aspen Pointe she was encouraged to process the long-term effects of childhood trauma and find her voice through a variety of media including watercolor, acrylic and inks. She went on to explore the use of photography and photo manipulation. She uses her own photos, taken on an old cell phone, then manipulates them in many ways to create unusual and unique images. The story these pieces tell is as intricate and layered as her own life, which she now feels she can navigate more successfully.


Mark Cooney

Mark CooneyMark Cooney is a 50 year old man with mental illness that includes anxiety and severe attention deficit disorder. He has retained, and gained skills in painting and poetry writing since developing his disability in his late 20’s. It has been, in his description, his machete to cut through the confusion of his mental illness jungle.

”I create paintings and poetry because it is a skill I can still excel at, having lost some life skills to mental illness. It is a way I can connect with different kinds of people I otherwise may feel uncomfortable with, and likewise can enjoy creative works they can offer me as well. Having been a 36 year resident of the Pikes Peak region, I am fascinated by its various life zones, and so I write and paint of it. I am also inspired by the different beauty of the Sonoran Desert of Southwestern Arizona and commemorate it likewise.”



Joseph Bishop

Joseph BishopJoe was born in 1982 in Portland, Maine. He was born with a rare birth defect, agenisis of the corpus callosum. The bundle of nerve fibers that connect the right and left hemispheres of the brain was missing. This caused severe physical disabilities and limited the capacity to speak or do much physically. However, his mind and soul are intact. After struggling just to survive for his first five years, at age 5, Joe went to live with Pat Berney, his special education teacher. This marked the beginning of a new life for him.

In 2005, Joe and Pat moved to Colorado Springs and he began attending Pikes Peak Community College, majoring in English. While looking for an elective to take, he decided to try an oil painting class. With the use of an adaptive split to hold the brush for him and the support of his attendant, Pat, he was able to paint. And paint he did. Painting quickly became the major focus and activity in his life. After 25 years, Joe has finally found his voice and a way to interact with the world. His paintings are full of his inner spirit and communicate his very essence. Through painting, Joe is no longer just a passive onlooker; he is now able to actively participate in life. He is not a body in a wheelchair anymore; now he is Joe, the artist.



Hi, my name is Jessie. I was born in Denver, Colorado. My disability is TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). I was not born with my disability. I was struck by a car at 15.

The most frustrating part of my disability is my physical limitations and my memory. To overcome by physical limitations I find alternative ways of doing them or my friends and family help. To help with my memory I write things down. I developed an interest in art right after my accident in 1992. My biggest influence is my grandmother. She would do ceramics with me. I like doing art because I feel happy when I do it. I feel good and have energy when I do art.


Angel and Skye Weis

Angel and Skye WeisI am a local artist born in Salida, CO and raised in the state of CO. I am a native in COS since 3 years old. I have worked in many varieties of mediums, including: drawing, colored pencil, water colour, acrylics, clay, ceramics, sewing and more! I am a disabled mother born with an extremely rare birth defect called Oral-Facial-Digitalus Syndrome Type I. I am the first person in the USA to be diagnosed with this syndrome and my daughter, Skye, also has the same syndrome. She is my blessing and my gift from heaven. Art has become a gift. My passion is teaching art to children and I have volunteered with people from pre-school children to adults.

When someone challenges me and says “I am not capable” – I will challenge anyone that tells me I can’t do it! I get my inspiration from our Lord, nature, the Native American spirits and my life. Art is my way of feeling free and my way of being able to communicate my thoughts and feelings in a visual – through my art.



Staff Showcase

At The Independence Center, we support full inclusion and integration into all parts of the community for people with disabilities. 80% of our office staff have disabilities themselves and we encourage their holistic expression as people.

Many of our staff have their own artistic talents and capabilities – our Staff Showcase is a display of one piece of work from interested IC staff. Thank you to our artists!

  • Nina Kamekona
  • Jamie Muth
  • Courtney Stone