The inspiring artist, Ralph Bell

Open Door Art Studio was founded in 2007 by Courtney DeYoung with the support of Columbus Center for Human Services, Inc. (CCHS). After working with adults with disabilities as a recreational therapist for 8 years, Courtney was invited to propose a new model for programming. Her fine arts degree from Columbus College of Art and Design and passion for the arts inspired the innovative concept for an art studio for artists with disabilities. This was the seed for Open Door Art Studio.

The proposal was propelled forward by then CCHS executive director Dona England who admired Ralph Bell (1913-1995). Ralph was a long-time resident of Park West Court Apartments, a division of CCHS. He had cerebral palsy and was institutionalized at the age of ten until late in life when he relocated to Park West. Ralph had a rewarding and celebrated career as an artist with work displayed in private collections and museums around the country. It was clear that Open Door could become the kind of studio that would recognize and support talented artists just like Ralph.

Since 2007, Open Door Art Studio has continued to evolve and grow to support our diverse studio artists. We have gained support from the community of Columbus and beyond. Many instrumental members have joined the team and left their mark on the studio and our program. We remain dedicated to overcoming limitations and giving individuals with disabilities the opportunity to discover their own expressive freedom. We are a proud division of CCHS which provides a wide range of services for individuals with disabilities. Learn more about CCHS here.

Read on for highlights from Open Door’s past. You can also learn more about the recent history of Open Door by perusing the archive of our monthly newsletters here.

Open Door Art Studio Highlights:

October 10, 2007
Open Door began in a spare room in a corporate office on the west side of Columbus. Studio Director Courtney DeYoung and eight initial studio artists were ready to create.

January 1, 2008
Open Door received funding through the Ohio Arts Council to expand its programming. OAC continued to support the studio for years to come.

February 28, 2008
Ashley Pierce began as an art facilitator. She brought a fresh perspective and inspired many artists, especially studio artist Tommy Tyler.

April 26, 2008
Open Door Art Studio officially opened its doors to the public at its location at 1365 Grandview Ave. The space had enough room for roughly twelve artists to work at a time, and the two daily studio sessions quickly filled with artists. There was a small gallery and retail area and the public were welcome to visit!

September 27, 2008
Joe Greene, a deaf artist from Lancaster who works in a cartoon style, had a solo exhibition at the studio. Working with outside organizations and artists remains integral to Open Door’s mission.

February 26, 2011
“Hot damn!” exclaimed studio artist Ceith Purifoy as he took home first place in the Emerging Artists category for VSA Ohio’s Accessible Expressions exhibition for his sculpture, Incognito.

July 5, 2011
Open Door Art Studio relocated to 1050 Goodale Boulevard, still in Grandview, Ohio. After outgrowing the old location, CCHS, Inc. purchased and renovated a warehouse nearly five times bigger just west of the Grandview Yard. The new studio had a dedicated, beautiful gallery and enough space to create for the fifty artists who called Open Door their creative home!

August 18, 2011
Open Door Takes Flight opened at Wild Goose Creative. This flight-themed exhibition introduced many Open Door artists to the arts community of Columbus.

April 14, 2012
This Inspired That premiered as Open Door’s first curated gallery exhibit. This annual audience favorite is a collaborative exhibition that partners local artists with the artists of Open Door. The group, Mother Artists at Work (MAW), was our inaugural community partner for this inspired exhibit that continues to launch each exhibition calendar.

June 1-3, 2012
Open Door’s very own Wallace Peck was selected by a blind jury as an emerging artist for the 2012 Columbus Arts Festival. His booth attracted countless visitors, and this event launched him into art stardom! Sharon Dorsey was instrumental in facilitating his booth at the festival and continues to act as Wallace’s “art agent.”

June – July, 2012
The Open Door team traveled to art studios around Ohio in preparation for Outside In, an exhibit featuring the exciting work created in progressive, accessible studios like ours. During these trips we selected works to exhibit and began adding to our permanent collection in earnest, purchasing at least one work at each of our tour stops. The exhibition and field trips were coordinated by art facilitator Cat Lynch.

September 3, 2012
Open Door won the first place booth award at Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival!

September 28, 2012
Elaine Gaines, an inaugural Open Door artist, passed away. Art facilitator, Cody Heichel, worked with her through her declining health to insure that she continued to paint despite increasing limitations.

May 16, 2013
Open Door Art Studio exhibited a great selection of artwork with Goodwill Art Studio in Vision Unveiled, at OSU’s Urban Arts Space in downtown Columbus.

May 31, 2013
Wallace Peck premiered at Lindsay Gallery in Columbus’ Short North arts district and sold out his first solo exhibition!

June 19, 2013
Doug Gantt, a veteran Open Door artist, had his first solo exhibition, Recollections and Resurrections, at Fresh A.I.R. Gallery. His large acrylic paintings were partnered with handwritten descriptions, showing his various influences from history to religion to biographical content.

November 9, 2013
Open Door celebrates its 3rd annual open house at its location on Goodale Boulevard with the exhibition, HOME. The new studio definitely felt like home!

February 28, 2014
A mural featuring artwork by Open Door’s Wallace Peck was installed on a building on the south-west corner of High Street and 5th Avenue in part of the 2014 vinyl mural project spearheaded by The Short North Alliance. Lady Liberty will be on display for two whole years!

June 1, 2014
A new Open Door Art Studio website, created by Allison Buenger, launched. It included profiles and portfolios of all studio artists.


The rest will go down in history. Stay tuned…

Studio Artist Barb Neibarger and Inaugural Studio Director Courtney DeYoung

Studio Artist Barb Neibarger and Inaugural Studio Director Courtney DeYoung

Ashley and Tommy

Studio Artist Tommy Tyler and Ashley Pierce at 1365 Location

Open Door at 1365 Grandview Ave.

Open Door’s original location at 1365 Grandview Ave.


















Joe Greene with his paintings at his solo opening at Open Door

Joe Greene with his paintings at his solo opening at Open Door



Wallace's mural of "Lady Liberty"!

Wallace’s mural of “Lady Liberty”!

















A bit of an Open Door staff reunion

A bit of an Open Door staff reunion in 2014! From left to right: Cat Lynch, Cody Heichel, Tim Cook, Ashley Pierce, Sharon Dorsey, Courtney DeYoung, Allison Buenger and Sean Moore


Monday - Friday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturdays for select exhibition openings and special sales


Phone: 614.641.2828
Fax: 614.429.0140


Copyright © 2016 Open Door Art Studio