GLEN MILLS, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Jake Spencer is painting a picture of how adults with disabilities can contribute to their community in meaningful ways.
It's thanks to his direct support professional, Caron Lee, an employee at The Arc of Chester County.
"I was working for a company that takes adults with disabilities out into the community," said Lee, who was partnered with Spencer about six years ago. "And we started by painting a portrait of Jake's dog."
That picture proved that Spencer had a lot of potential with a paintbrush. And from there, the two learned in unison how to paint portraits of pups in their neighborhood. Dog lovers across the community started to commission the couple to recreate photos of their pets in both realistic and imaginative settings.
"Painting is so calming and it's relaxing and I love it," said Spencer. "Me and Caron have been collaborating together as a team. I think she's one of the best artists, painter, and I love her as a person she is right now."
It was an exciting day for the duo behind "Pet Portraits by Jake and Caron," as they opened their first exhibit to the public. The one-day-only event took place at the Media Theatre Studio in Media, Pennsylvania.
There, Spencer's musical group, the State Street Miracles, performed an opening ceremony. The duo also unveiled a new painting of Lira, a service dog at the Delaware County Courthouse. They presented the piece to Lira's handler, Linda Barbera.
The exhibit also helped to illustrate how important direct support professionals can be for individuals with disabilities to thrive.
"There aren't a lot of programs available for adults after they graduate from school," said Lee. "So, if more people would join jobs like these, you can work with amazing people like Jake and make sure that they stay engaged and active and social and it's just worthwhile."