Where are They Now: DK Arts
We featured Dylan of DK Arts on our show years ago. (Watch it here.) Today, we’re hearing an update on his life and work, written by Terri Rose, Dylan’s business manager, friend and mother.
Having the ability to reference Dylan’s life as a Biz Kid has opened doors for Dylan to be taken serious as a reputable business owner and artist. Being a Biz Kid has opened the doors for Dylan to receive further recognition for his success.
Dylan’s most recent achievement is his application to The Evergreen State College (TESC) as a full-time student, to start this coming September, 2015. His ambition is to study child development and music therapy. From this he wants to start a band that plays children’s music. This goal of starting a band that plays children’s music was mentioned in his Biz Kids episode. After all these years passed, he has continued this dream and we are hopeful for its inception. Patience and persistence are two of Dylan’s virtues. Prior to starting the band, he will need to write a business plan, something we remembered hearing about on other Biz Kids episodes. When accepted into TESC, he will be the first student with Down Syndrome to be accepted in a Washington 4-year college. We anxiously await the college’s decision.
Many people with a family member or friend with Down syndrome or other types f disabilities have contacted both Dylan and myself via email or Facebook to thank us. They say Dylan inspires them. They tell us Dylan gives them hope and encouragement to dream big. They say that Dylan is a perfect example of what might be possible if they focus on positive abilities and to pay attention to strengths, abilities and to what brings their family member joy. Dylan wants to make an impression by being himself doing what brings him joy. People often ask me, his mother, what I did to help Dylan become who he is. Biz Kids has been a great platform that has given others the courage to ask, how they too may live their life with passion and joy. Some have asked me, his mother, how they too could help start a business for their loved one. I am always happy to share resources and encouragement for them to begin.
Dylan’s successful life, art and business has been published in multiple publications. Below is a list:
- The Riot Newsletter ~ The Art Issue. Issue 27, January 2011. The Riot is a publication of the Human Services Research Institute,Tualatin, Oregon, http://www.hsri.org
- In the College Edition of the magazine called: I.d.e.a.l. (Individuals with Disabilities Express About Life) from Philadelphia, PA, http://www.itsanidealworld.com, Spring 2013 edition, “Raising the Bar” ~ Dylan is Living the Dream Musician and Artist ~ pages 56-57.
- The book titled: A Room of Golden Shells: 100 Works by Artists and and Writers with Down Syndrome, features 3 pieces of Dylan’s art along with a full page short biography of Dylan’s life and artistic influence, pages 148-153. Compiled and published by Woodbine House, Bethesda, MD, March 2013, http://www.woodbinehouse.com
- Apostrophe Magazine, Winter 2013 issue published a story titled: “Mom, son team up for Business”, page 45. This story tells our journey to accomplish the start up of Dylan’s visual and performing arts company, DK Arts (est. 2005). The magazine is published out of Anaconda, MT and focuses on PEOPLE – not their disABILITIES. http://www.apostrophemagazine.com
- Community Inclusion Newsletter (blog.satraininginstitute.org), December 5, 2013. This blog is sponsored by the Washington State Developmental Disabilities Administration Roads to Community Living. This story in entirety along with the images will be included in a book about Down syndrome that will be translated in Spanish and distributed in Mexico. Further plans are to have it translated into other languages and distributed in other countries.
- The book titled:” Educating Learners with Down Syndrome, Research, theory, and practice with children and adolescence”, edited by Rhonda Faragher and Barbara Clarke, published this book out of Australia in 2014. Dylan was interviewed and mentioned in this book on three separate occasions. Pages 2-3, 33, 257-258. This book is available for sale on Amazon.
Dylan’s life continues to blossom. In 2012 he formed a youth and adult band, currently called, Living the Dream, formerly called The Jackson Memory Band. He brings a uniqueness to this band as the only person with a disability. He proves that Down syndrome ROCKS! They have performed on numerous occasions including to a crowd of approximately 6000 people at the opening ceremony for the opening ceremony for the 2013 summer Special Olympics, Maui and various venues in Washington State. They are currently planning their West Coast USA music tour. To learn more visit them on Facebook page ~ Living the Dream – Heal the World and on their website http://www.healtheworldtour.org. This band has a mission to promote INCLUSION and ABILITIES with music.
Dylan’s business, DK Arts continues to flourish. Over the last few years he has made a change in his artistic medium. He has been taught techniques in the art of working with fused glass and dichroic glass. In addition of the sales of his art on greeting cards, he now cuts and designs fused glass art and jewelry. He sells his one-of-a-kind fused glass in retail shops, by commission and wholesale. He is most proud of his products being sold at the Pike Street Market in Seattle, WA and at the Sea-Tac airport. His cards and fused glass is also sold at a gallery gift shop in Morton, WA. He continues to love being the owner of his own business, being creative and knowing he will never get fired.
Some of the challenges Dylan has faced since his episode of Biz Kid$ has aired have been short lived. We often take a challenge and look at it an opportunity for something new. For example, Dylan’s elderly art instructor took ill and could no longer provide private art instruction. With this new “challenge” we chose to look for a Newark medium for Dylan. I found a glass studio quite near where he had been taking drum lessons. While Dylan was in his drum lesson, I took it upon entering myself to visit this glass studio and its owners. After introducing them to Dylan, they were more than eager to teach him a few techniques to get him started working with fused glass. Instead of purchasing a firing kiln of our own, I used this as an opportunity to expand Dylan’s community relationships and chose to use their kiln. Over the years we have established a close friendship both for business and friendship.
Another “challenge” came when Dylan announced he did not want to travel as much out of state for conferences and craft fairs. This decision impacted his earning potential. Our goals since, has been to increase his retail sales and look for more speaking and conferences more near his hometown of Olympia, WA. Consequently, his sales have decreased some, but we are hopeful for increased sales income.
Because Dylan’s new fused glass products are one-of-a-kind, we have found it somewhat difficult to sell on line. We are scheduled to meet with his web designer to create a fused glass art and jewelry page for his website. This will provide another option for the sale of Dylan’s new products.
Way to go, Dylan! All of us at Biz Kid$ are proud of your continued determination and success!