Adam Egrin made an electric guitar, cutting the shape of the instrument from wood and piecing together parts from other guitars. He painted it white and adhered colorful beads to the front of it.
He plugged it in and strummed earlier this month at the Dresner Foundation Soul Studio in West Bloomfield, where Egrin is among roughly 60 artists who paint, work with fiber and clay, sew, make music, take photographs and use technology to reveal talents hidden to the average person.
Each of them has special needs, whether it’s autism or cerebral palsy, Down syndrome or other conditions, but all are welcome at Soul Studio, said Bassie Shemtov, who founded the art center about a year ago with her husband, Levi Shemtov.
There, the focus isn’t on their disabilities, but on their abilities.
“We’re really interested in what interests them, and following their lead rather than forcing them to do something,” Bassie Shemtov said. “We want to help them find their talent inside.
“It’s just incredible. A lot of this is inspirational.”
Egrin, who is 22 and lives in Southfield, has an eye for photography and textiles, but also a knack for music. He started playing the drums at age 2 and the guitar when he was 5.
“If I didn’t have this place, my head would be lost in oblivion,” he said. He visits the studio three days a week, and loves to make things. “Anything that’s hands on, I love. And that’s everything because everything is art. Music is art, and that can be playing on the drums, playing on guitar, playing on the computer, making sounds off the computer.
“And then there’s art that most people think of, like painting and that kind of stuff. I have no preference.”