Art for Everyone: Special Needs Art Classes at The Art Establishment

The Art Establishment is a vibrant community art space offering classes, gallery space, studio rentals, life drawing, events and much more. My husband, Tom, and I have run the Art Establishment since 2015 and love being able to engage with a community of artists of all levels and abilities. One of our favorite things that we do is offer art classes for children and adults with special needs. We find it so fulfilling, and we don’t know who enjoys it more — them or us! As parents of a child with special needs, we know how important it is to offer classes where the students can feel confident, safe and creative, and can just have fun.

A member of the class paints

Two Special Needs Art Classes

We offer two types of classes: Special Needs Art Class is a less structured class where we do many types of art: painting, collaging, crafts, and more. The class is designed to help the students learn about shapes, depth, and color as well as how to be creative. Some projects also feature sensory activities. There’s a lot of camaraderie and fun with this group! The other class is a more serious painting class: Acrylics for Special Needs. This class teaches the students everything they need to know about painting with acrylics, from color to painting techniques, so they can learn to paint independently.

Students smile as they participate in an art class

We also host groups of adults and young adults with special needs from Easter Seals and SPIN, Inc. for special 2-hour art classes once or twice per month.

Special Visions – A Special Needs Art Show

Every March, we feature an exhibit in our gallery called “Special Visions – A Special Needs Art Show.” Oftentimes, families are only told what people with special needs can’t accomplish, but we want to highlight what they can and do accomplish! Every year the show grows a little, and this past March we had over 50 artists represented, showcasing everything from paintings and drawings to textiles and pottery. It’s such a beautiful, colorful show, and it’s definitely the happiest show we display all year. The support for all the artists is wonderful; families, teachers, and professionals in the special needs field all come out to see the work and are so proud of their artists, as they should be!

Next year’s show will open on Saturday, March 3, 2018, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

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