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Art program for people with different abilities making big impact in Thomas County

Thomas County art instructor gets selected for Brian Kemp's 'Call for Art'
Posted at 6:19 PM, Jul 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-20 18:36:44-04

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) — "I focused in on the disabilities group because nobody was addressing their needs," said Dixie Hedrington, executive director of Friends & Stars Inc.

A passion for art soon turned into concern when Mother Dixie Hedrington couldn't find anywhere to share it with her deaf son.

"Gee I'd like my son to come and learn this and 'well we'd like to have him, but we don't have accommodations for that," said Hedrington.

So, Hedrington dug into her own pockets and created her own space— Friends & Stars Inc. The program is geared towards children with different abilities thought not limited to. Over the last 15 years Hedrington says she has helped thousands of kids with her art program.

"I liked what I was making and creating. I enjoyed it," said Michael Graham, former student.

That's 9-year-old Michael Graham. He says when he grows up, he wants to play in the NBA and maybe even help design a new logo.

"It helps me concentrate," said Graham.

Skills like mosaic art, painting, and sculpting are just a few of what Hedrington offers. Taking her teachings over to places like Thomasville's School System and the Boys & Girls Club.

According to, students with access to art education score high on literacy, writing, and English skills.

When I asked Hedrington why she does it, her answer was simple.

"To see that kid's face when they hold it up and I take a picture of it and they're like…I did that!," Hedrington expressed.

After years of sharing her art with the community Hedrington was recently selected in Governor Brian Kemp's Call for Art. She will present her artwork on August 1 where it will be hung in the Georgia State Capitol.