Merchant Street Art Gallery - art

A section of Merchant Street Art Gallery, which showcases pieces from local artists with autism.

Merchant Street Art Gallery of Artists with Autism, 356 E. Merchant St., Kankakee, is dedicated to providing a creative outlet to individuals with autism and help them further develop the art skills they have. The organization offers classes, holds art shows and participates in some of the area’s art shows or sales.

To celebrate Autism Awareness Month this April, Merchant Street Gallery will host community members in the gallery to hunt for hidden puzzle pieces with prizes written on the back.

They are also asking for guests to contribute to their Community Puzzle by personalizing a large jigsaw piece in the studio whenever possible and adding it to the puzzle.

“Our goal is for [artists] to eventually be able to use their artistic skills in a place of business and support themselves,” said director Janice Miller in a news release.

The gallery is preparing for the Virtual Art Show to be hosted by Orland Park Library beginning on May 1. Currently in the gallery, the Melodies of Spring Art Show is on display. They will also be hosting a sale of benches painted by artists on June 13 and the Run for Autism on June 20.

The gallery is always looking for new talent and just welcomed a new artist from Brazil. A watercolor techniques class will we held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday evenings and there is still room for more participants.

Arts and crafts classes are held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays to develop sensory tolerances and following directions. With this, the gallery has been working with occupational therapy students from Governor’s State University.

These graduate school members are working with about six artists to put an entire puppet show together including writing the script, making the puppets and performing the show. The show is scheduled for noon on April 17.

The gallery is open to the public from noon to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, visit