The Art of Possibility: Fostering Self-Expression at Valley Village

In the vibrant heart of Valley Village, the spirit of creativity bursts forth, bringing color, life, and imagination to our community through our ceramics and art classes. These transformative classes, led by Susan Karhroody, are a testament to the incredible power of creative expression for our day program participants with developmental disabilities.

Unearthing Personal Narratives Through Clay

Participant Angel working with Clay, together with Instructor

Angel’s eyes gleam with enthusiasm as he meticulously sculpts tiny angel figurines, each bearing the mark of his unique spirit. For Angel, these delicate creations are more than just clay and glaze; they are a profound reflection of his gentle nature. Another participant, on the other hand, lovingly shapes crosses with intricate details, weaving his unwavering faith into every stroke. The art isn’t limited to religious symbols; others fashion animals, mystical creatures, or abstract sculptures that resonate with their individual personalities.

I love coming to ceramics class,” says Angel. The barriers to creativity disappear in these classes, and our participants find a sanctuary where their imaginations can fly. They take pride in their tangible works of art, each a testimony to their unique creativity.

A Journey of Hands and Hearts

Participant Paul working on his clay.“Beyond the art itself, working with clay offers our participants a chance to refine their motor skills, but it’s so much more than that,” says Karhroody. It is a medium for them to channel their thoughts and feelings, allowing their inner voices to be heard. These classes provide an environment where imagination knows no bounds, and there is no “wrong” way to create. Under the gentle guidance of our dedicated instructor, ideas spring forth from the minds of our residents, unfiltered and authentic.

Displaying these masterpieces for our staff and visitors is a moment of triumph for our participants. It’s a chance for them to shine, and in doing so, they help others discover their interests, talents, and perspectives. Each piece serves as a bridge to deeper connections and understanding. For many residents, creating these artworks is their proudest accomplishment.

The Power of Creativity

At Valley Village, we firmly believe that creativity is a force that empowers our participants to express themselves and to feel valued for who they are. Through art, they unlock their potential, boosting their confidence and self-worth. Amid creativity’s flow, they never cease to amaze us with their talents and insights. The art classes we offer unleash the beauty residing within each participant, nurturing their imaginative spirits as they continue to grow, explore their interests, and share their unique voices. Every day at Valley Village, our residents inspire us to see the world through a more colorful, creative lens.

Do you know someone who would benefit from attending a Valley Village Day Program? Contact Sousan Ayyad, Director of Day Programs, at to learn more.


About our Instructor

Art and Ceramics Instructor Susan

Susan Karhroody is a contemporary artist passionate about capturing the human form, landscape painting, and semi-representational art. Her unique approach often incorporates clay, wire, and felt into her three-dimensional masterpieces.

With a Master’s degree in Fine Art and Education from California State University, Northridge (CSUN), Karhroody has dedicated her career to making a difference. She serves as an art therapist, working with adults with disabilities and helping them discover their creative potential.

Karhroody’s artworks have graced museum and gallery exhibitions across the United States and Japan, including the prestigious National Art Center Tokyo in 2019. Her journey has been remarkable, driven by a deep passion for art and a profound desire to share it with the world.