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  • Writer's pictureVal Olson

Starting with Art & Soul

Charlie's Journey & Origin Story


It Began with A Birth


Our son, Charlie, was born in 1977. Charlie was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. And, as many parents will understand, we were unsure of everything that would entail, but we were sure that his life would be filled with love.


Charlie traveled through the school system with his peers, teachers, speech therapists, physical therapists, fun activities, trips with his peers, jobs, and more.


And then, he graduated from the public school system at the age of 21. We never felt so alone at where to go and what to do to provide the best possible life for Charlie.


We never felt so alone at where to go and what to do to provide the best possible life for Charlie.

We were so very fortunate to live in a small community that was so caring and giving. The hurdle was that our town did not offer any services for individuals with disabilities out of the school system as most moved to a bigger town. We wanted him to stay in our small community where he would have his family around him for support. We were able to secure funding for residential and Day Support in Langdon for Charlie and the two gentlemen that he would share a home with at that time.


I was able to see that as we were working hard to fulfill Charlie’s day, there was a big void in his social life. I noticed that he was showing signs of depression.


…there was a big void in his social life. I noticed that he was showing signs of depression.

I researched different ideas and saw that different areas in the United States and abroad were exploring the use of art as a form of expression for people with disabilities. I felt that this would be such an incredible and powerful form of communication.


Our family decided to make a move to the Fargo area where both Charlie and I could fulfill our dream together….


And Art and Soul was born.



- Val Olson 2022




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1 Comment


judywerner9
Oct 03, 2023

As the parent of a 19 year old with disabilities, we are facing the same challenges. Thank you for putting your dream in motion!

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