By Rick McVicar
Creative arts programs with gallery and performance opportunities for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities are beginning to pop up around the world.
For instance, the Open Door Art Studio and Gallery near Columbus, Ohio offers visual art classes and exhibitions. Meanwhile, the Aspire Creative Arts Program in Anaheim, Calif. offers classes in visual arts, music and dance. In Newcastle, England, people with learning disabilities and autism can write and produce their own plays for The Twisting Duck Theatre Company.
The Open Door will be hosting an opening reception April 9 for the exhibition, “This Inspired That.” Pre-registration for the event is offered on the group’s website.
A mission statement is displayed on the site.
“We believe in the transformative power of the arts and are committed to fostering personal and artistic growth and deepening community connections,” the website states.
Staff members are professional artists who teach drawing and painting skills. Students can learn a variety of mediums. Their artworks are often sold, according to the Open Door site.
At Aspire in Anaheim, Calif., people with developmental disabilities can work with paint, charcoal, clay or computer graphics. Their work is often displayed in exhibitions, according to Aspire’s website.
Participants can also take music, dance and drama classes. The students give performances for the public as well, often collaborating with local professional musicians.
“Students are actively involved in creating new community engagement projects,” the Aspire website states.
Further, people with disabilities can write, direct and act in their own plays at The Twisting Duck Theatre Company in England.
One group of participants reaches out to other disability organizations to find the issues that matter most to the disabled community, according to the theatre company’s website.
The theatre company also offers band, songwriting and DJing opportunities. Participants are able to perform for the public.
“Our vision: A society that values the diversity, creativity and citizenship of people with learning disabilities and autism,” The Twisting Duck’s website states.
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