Thank you for your interest in becoming a volunteer at Passion Works Studio. We are providing this online orientation as a convenience to you and to ensure consistent information is being given to all volunteers.


Passion Works Studio is a highly creative art studio, affiliated with Atco, Inc., a vocational workshop for adults with developmental disabilities. The studio supports collaboration between artists with and without disabilities. The spirit of partnership and shared vision of Passion Works Studio represents the very best in collaborative community arts.

Founded in 1998, Passion Works today is a thriving studio that places Passion Works Artists (artists with disabilities) together with Resident and Visiting Artists to create outstanding and beautiful works of art. While everyone present may have different abilities, the entire process requires the diverse abilities represented by all participants. All are equally important, all are stakeholders, and all involved learn a valuable and rare lesson – that a community is only as rich and as strong as the collaborative, collective visions and dreams of the members of that community.

Increasingly, the studio has served as a conduit for a community of artists with and without disabilities, social service providers, university students and other supporters who wish to learn more about arts-infused practices for this adult population and the larger community of vocational workshops. The studio has hosted more than twenty visiting artists, presented thirty individual exhibitions and launched a line of products designed by Passion Works Studio Artists.

Over forty Passion Works Artists come to the studio each week. While in the studio, these adults are engaged in artistic work that broadens employability potential, and, most importantly, supports participants in fully reaching their potential and addressing the human impulse, desire and need to make art. Art emerges as a celebration of ordinary objects and experiences. Through the shared activity of producing and appreciating art, Passion Works Studio Artists reclaim art as an aspect of their life and as a tool – a way to connect with others.

Passion Works Artists’ ideas and designs underlie all created works. Professional artists are on staff to facilitate the art-making process on a daily basis. In addition, the studio hosts 1-2 Visiting Artists per year to work in collaboration with Passion Works Artists, introducing new techniques and mediums. For example, a ceramic artist turns a wolf drawing into a 3-D sculpture, and then a jeweler uses that same wolf drawing to create a sterling silver pin.


With initial funding and support from the Athens County Board of DD and the Ohio Arts Council, Passion Works Studio was born. Passion Works is striving to become a self-sufficient art studio. With this in mind, and as sales of products increase, Passion Works is assuming a larger portion of its operating expense. In the early stages, a product line was developed to meet the operating needs of the studio, including salaries, supplies, marketing, etc. In addition, Passion Works has been very successful in attaining several grants through the Foundation of Appalachian Ohio, the Ohio Arts Council, the Athens Foundation and the Kellogg Foundation. We are very fortunate to have tremendous support from community members and volunteers like you.

Passion Works Studio is open to Passion Works Artists Monday, Tuesday and Friday. In addition, the studio store is open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Events and Collaborations

Passion Works Artists are actively involved in the Athens community. Their work has been shown both regionally and throughout the state in such venues as The Kennedy Museum of Art, The Dairy Barn and The Riffe Gallery in Columbus, Ohio.

Passion Works has partnered with numerous groups and organizations through Hocking College, Ohio University and the Tibetan Monks, to work collaboratively on a variety of projects.

Volunteer Information and Guidelines

Volunteers are invited into the studio and are viewed as a valued partner in helping to achieve the purpose/mission and vision of Passion Works Studio. We encourage and support volunteers by providing fulfilling experiences that are of mutual benefit to our Passion Works Artists, the studio and the volunteer.

Volunteers assist with a variety of tasks. These can range from one on one assistance (e.g. sitting beside a Passion Works Artist and getting their supplies when needed), helping with production (e.g. pressing petals for Passion Flowers) or assisting an Artist in Residence in turning an image from a sketchbook into a larger-than life paper mache animal! Let us know what skills you have (e.g. sewing, listening, painting, putting things together and organizing). We’ll work with you to create an experience that utilizes your talents.

Volunteers are welcome Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Our studio has space to accommodate two volunteers at a time. Sign-up sheets are located in the studio. We ask that you volunteer in two-hour time increments and commit to a minimum of 20 total volunteer hours. You may sign up for a block of time (e.g. every Tuesday from 1-3 p.m. for the next 8 weeks) or just drop in to see if there is an opening at that time. We do ask you call 592-3673 if you have signed up and are unable to come.

One thing to keep in mind when signing up to volunteer – Passion Works Artists are in the studio Monday, Tuesday and Friday until 2:15 p.m. If you would like to experience the energy of “art-making at its finest”, you’ll want to come at these times.

Wednesday and Thursday are more production-oriented. During these times you will be working with our Production Artists to prepare materials for future use or to add a finishing touch to an art piece. Occasionally, volunteers are needed at special events during the evening or weekends.

If you need verification that you have volunteered a certain number of hours, please let us know this before you begin. However, you are responsible for recording your hours each day and asking a staff person to sign-off on them.

Anytime you are in the building, we ask that you sign-in/out on the sheet located on the front of the Volunteer notebook. This information is very helpful to us when writing grants and to verify in-kind volunteer hours.

Work in the studio can be messy. Please wear clothes that you would not mind having a little paint or glitter on. Jeans and t-shirts are fine. We ask that you not wear revealing clothing such as short skirts or shorts, low cut tops or tops that expose your stomach or low-riding pants. We request you use common sense as to what you “advertise” on your t-shirts. Profanity or suggestive material is not acceptable. For safety reasons, we ask that you do not wear backless sandals.

Once you are in the studio, please check with Passion Works Production Artists for an assignment. If you find you do not like the task assigned, just ask for something different. There are plenty of tasks to choose from and we want you to enjoy your time with us.

We ask that you remember that Passion Works Artists’ ideas and designs underlie all created works. As a volunteer, you may be enhancing their work by painting in one of their images, but we ask that you not add your own images.

If you are working on something from the product line, please make sure you follow instructions exactly as explained. For example, if you are asked to make 5 lines on a sheet of metal, please don’t decide that lines are boring and do spirals or zig-zags. There has been much planning to achieve a certain look. We desire to produce high quality products and every detail counts!

We are often asked if you can take photographs in the studio for a class project. Permission from the Studio Coordinator and signed releases need to be obtained before any photographs can be taken.

On a monthly basis, we are required to have fire and tornado drills. If you are volunteering in the studio during one of these drills, please assist those using wheelchairs in exiting the building. Please remind the person you are assisting to listen quietly for their name to be called. Once roll call is complete, we will return to the studio.

There will always be one or more staff persons in the studio at any given time. If a medical situation were to arise, such as someone having a seizure, the staff person would call for assistance and care for the individual. You could assist by moving any objects, such as chairs or tables, away from the individual. It would also be helpful to notice details about the incident, such as how long a seizure lasted.

The most important thing to remember is that you are working with people. Like all of us, the individuals we work with want to be recognized for their individuality and treated with respect and dignity.

All individuals you will be working with receive services from the Athens County Board of DD. They have requested assistance in certain areas of their life such as job training, case management, daily living skills or improving social skills, to name a few.

Everyone is unique and has strengths and needs. Some individuals’ needs are being addressed through a Behavior Support Plan. We feel that consistency can be very helpful in assisting an individual. Individual Behavior Support Plans may be shared with you so that you can help us in assisting the individual. As part of finalizing your orientation, a staff person will go over any behavior support plan information you may need to be an effective volunteer. If you feel you are lacking important information about an individual, please direct questions to Passion Works Staff.

All information shared with you about an individual shall remain confidential and you have acknowledged your understanding of this by signing the confidentially agreement in the volunteer packet.

Passion Works Studio is located in uptown Athens at 20 E. State St. You can enter through the front or side entrances but please remember to sign in each time you are in the building. There is a limited amount of parking available in the first row of the parking lot adjacent to Passion Works. We ask that you walk to the studio if at all possible as we would like to keep the parking spaces available for customers.

Other Important Information

All volunteers must be 18 years of age or older. If you are seeking to volunteer at Passion Works as part of a court mandated community service, you must first obtain approval from Laurie Gregg at laurie@passionworks.org or call 592-6659 ext. 211.