Bridget Kelly is living her dream life as an artist and business owner, thanks to the support of her family and the IgniteAbility program. Working across the mediums of drawing, painting and screen-printing, her edgy and colourful abstract designs are in high demand.
Bridget is a young woman with Down syndrome who is supported by IgniteAbility to help her art business flourish. In just 18 months, the 25-year-old has
established an impressive home-based art business with big plans for 2023. According to Bridget’s mum, Kate, art has been an ongoing passion since her daughter’s early teens as well as a powerful form of communication. So, it was no wonder that when asked what she wanted to do when she completed school, Bridget had a firm one-word answer – art.
“We really just followed her lead on that,” said Kate. “So she went to an art group and she got an art tutor, and the group put her in an art exhibition.” Bridget takes inspiration from everywhere, taking a sketch pad with her and filling it with drawings of outlines of what she sees, before bringing the artworks to life with unique colour combinations.
So imaginative are Bridget’s artworks that she won the emerging Artist Prize category in the Blooming Arts Exhibition at Chrissie Cotter Gallery. The prize was a mentorship to Sydney College of the Arts to study print media. It was a careers advisor at Uni2Beyond who mentioned SSI’s Ignite, and its tailored program for people with disability, IgniteAbility. Passionate entrepreneurs are offered one-on one support and advice around how to run a successful small business.
While Bridget was planning a two-week solo exhibition at Chrissie Cotter Gallery in June 2021, lockdown threatened to derail her plans. Refusing to let Bridget’s solo exhibition dreams end, Bridget and her family reached out to her IgniteAbility facilitator, Alexis, for advice about sharing Bridget’s artworks virtually through videos on social media.
Alexis has also provided support around Bridget’s logo design, social media presence, re-designing Bridget’s website and establishing an online shop. “On a purely business side, she’s got a lot more exposure now and a lot more followers on social media, and a lot more people coming to see her and buy her art,” said Kate. While the art is 100% Bridget, the business is now a beautiful family collaboration, with her sisters helping to manage Bridget’s branding and digital presence, mum Kate assisting on the business side, and dad Matthew helping with framing.
The IgniteAbility team continue to seek opportunities for exhibitions, promotion of the artworks, and ultimately enjoyment, self confidence and increased self worth for Bridget and the whole Kelly family.
To find out more about Bridget Kelly Art click here.