About Us


Open Hearts Art Center was developed by three women who had a passion for creating a program that combined their love for art with their desire to make a difference in the lives of differently-abled adults. Based on a holistic approach to habilitative care combined with the use of multiple forms of expression, Open Hearts Art Center has been serving adults with disabilities since June of 2005.  With only a small amount of day programs for adults with intellectual disabilities in the western North Carolina area, and none that focused solely on the arts as a therapeutic approach, Open Hearts has been a one of a kind program for the members of our community.

Seeing inherent value in each individual’s artwork as an avenue for self-growth Open Hearts emphasizes the visual arts. Our staff encourages daily reflection of each student’s rich history and personal story as a source of inspiration for their work.  In addition to two-dimensional and three-dimensional forms of art, Open Hearts also encourages expression through performing arts such as music, dance, movement, drama and theater. Offering a variety of choices increases the opportunity for everyone to exercise their imagination.

Open Hearts became incorporated and received their 501-c3 nonprofit status in 2004. In 2005 they received their Medicaid provider identification number to provide billable services though the Division of Medical Assistance as well as state funded services through our Local Management Entity, Western Highlands.  The Board of Directors was developed consisting of students, parents, case managers, art advocates and community members.  The directors fund raised, acquired in kind donations and received support from community members to procure monies needed to begin serving this population.  June 1st2005 Open Hearts began offering classes and have grown ten-fold since their inception.


  • Sonia Pitts, Jessie Francis, Debbie Harris

    Sonia Pitts, Jessie Francis, Debbie Harris

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  • Anne Wray

    Anne Wray
  • Ashley Riddle

    Ashley Riddle
  • Bri Gelsinger

    Bri Gelsinger

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  • Bryan Ottaviano

    Bryan Ottaviano

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  • Dylan Webb

    Dylan Webb
  • Kendra Hamman

    Kendra Hamman
  • Lyric Powers

    Lyric Powers
  • Melissa Down

    Melissa Down

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  • Priscilla Yokote

    Priscilla Yokote
  • Salley Williamson

    Salley Williamson

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  • Seth McPherson

    Seth McPherson

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  • Sidney Guida

    Sidney Guida

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  • Talia Scarpelli

    Talia Scarpelli

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  • Tara Brummett

    Tara Brummett

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  • Tom Preston

    Tom Preston

Board of Directors

  • Cindy Wolff

    Cindy Wolff
  • Connie Falcone

    Connie Falcone
  • Leisa Rundquist

    Leisa Rundquist