In November of 1986, Matt & Robin Rhoades opened Southside Art Center with 5 staff and 25 participants in two programs.
The art program became a creative place where artist worked on their individual projects with the idea of exhibiting and selling their art in the community. We began to help showcase artist talents by arranging for many community exhibitions. In 1993 we opened a co-operative gallery, which has evolved into the Southside Art Center Gallery. The tremendous success of these projects propelled the artist at Southside into a noted artistic group.
After a year, we changed the curriculum in the AIM program to a community instruction model and changed the name to Community Volunteerism, where we volunteered at places like the YMCA, SPCA, Red Cross, Senior Gleaners, churches and other non-profit companies in our community. Participants learned the skills necessary to accomplish the tasks and become valuable members of the sites they volunteered at.
In 1998 we started a new program called Passage that served people who had not been successful in other programs. They were people who had difficulty communicating their needs, which then created behavioral challenges. We have been very successful at meeting their needs that helps them to live and work successfully in their community
In 2006 Southside, developed a supportive employment relationship in the recycling industry. We sorted paper and other materials and turned the sorted material in for redemption. This evolved into Southside Recycling, which currently provides employment to 25 participants.
In 2016 we separated employment services from our art program and started Employment Services to better meet the needs of participants looking for paid and volunteer job opportunities and skill development. In 2017 we transitioned our art program from a day program model to an art studio and gallery that could be open to everyone. Our new Work of Art Studios and Galleries will be open to the public by 2019.