Eight years ago, founder of Yellow Key Art Center, Sarah Cole was working in a group home with adults with developmental delays.  She consistently noticed that people with "disabilities" were more capable and self sufficient than they were given credit for.  Luckily there was a day program that stood out in that community that supported adults with special needs through the avenue of creative arts.  There came the spark to create something similar in Knoxville.

The art center idea was put on the back-burner while Sarah went to graduate school for Art Therapy and Counseling, spending a good deal of time working with adults with special needs.  After moving to Indianapolis and starting her own successful business, Sarah realized that it was time to move this idea to the forefront and make it a reality.

After much research and planning, Knoxville, TN was chosen as the location for Yellow Key.  Tennessee has taken great initiative to be a leader in providing services for people with disabilities and has recently made a large push from institutionalization  to a more community based model of care.

Our Mission
To foster life-long learning through the creative arts for people with developmental delays and emotional disturbances, providing community-based programs and transferrable job skills training by artists in an environment of warmth and mutual respect.

Our Vision for the Future
 To be a valuable and integral part of our community where people with different abilities are treated with respect and acceptance.

An outlet for expression

It is no secret that self expression is therapeutic.  While some have no problem expressing themselves verbally, others do better sharing their story through artmaking, theater, creative writing, music, and dance.  It is a sad misconception that people with developmental and intellectual delays do not have as much to offer.  We challenge this notion!  Not only does this population have a lot to express, they are often waiting for the opportunity and tools to do so.
We Value
  • Constructing educational opportunities for creativity and self expression in the visual and performing arts.

  • Promoting local artists with developmental delays and emotional/behavioral issues.

  • Contributing to our community.

  • Creating an environment of warmth and respect

Be the key that unlocks the door

With financial and in-kind support from donors like yourself, we will be able to offer this outlet for expression, unlock creative potential, and support individuals as they strive to live a fulfilling and independent life.

“There is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.”  — Martha Graham

A creative haven

The Studio Arts Program is currently based at ETTAC, a nonprofit that helps people with disabilities gain knowledge about and access to assistive technology devices.  Through the use of various creative techniques such as visual and performing arts, creative writing, and more,  participants will work side by side with professionally trained artists and receive high quality art education at a pace that is appropriate for their skill level.
On any given day you may walk into the center and see classes in:
Painting, Creative Writing, Ceramics, Dance, Music, Theater, Photography, Improv, Stop motion animation, Yoga, Printmaking, Sculpture, Drawing, Gardening, Jewelry making, Percussion, Design,  Fiber arts, and the list goes on.

We strive for transparency so tax documents will be available for inspection here in the future.

Contact us to see how you can help today .
Your financial support provides opportunities for people to experience the arts.