Wendy Hollo has been a leader in the community for over 30 years. As Executive Director for Skills Society she developed a passion for working with those with developmental disabilities such as Autism, Aspergers and Down syndrome. As a visionary she founded the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts in 2003. This revolutionary art centre is designed for those with barriers to the the arts such as those with developmental disabilities, brain injuries or at-risk youth. Wendy Hollo created and leads the centre which boasts a collective of over 160 artists. She helps lead the centre through hard financial times and continues to grow and expand programming for the artists. As a leader Wendy inspires her staff, board and stakeholders to keep striving for excellence in the arts.
The concept of an art centre for those with developmental disabilities was in the process of developing in North America when Wendy Hollo created the first one in Edmonton in 2003. Now several exist in North America. Recently a group from China came to visit the centre in Edmonton to learn about its successful format and structure to recreate back in China. This innovative concept has changed the lives of many who now describe themselves as artists as opposed to just someone with a disability. The centre is life-altering and inspirational to those who enter its doors.
The new centre is in the heart of a 118th Avenue community revitalization project. The centre is an integral part of the community. Free rentals are available to numerous arts organizations and Wendy has also started a free family and community arts night for those who want to learn art but cannot afford classes and supplies. Indeed, Wendy has done so much to strengthen the 118th Avenue community.