TEXAS COMMISSION ON THE ARTS – ARTS RESPOND HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES GRANT
ART at the ARC Summer Camp
A camp for children with autism and cerebral palsy.
Goals: to empower the children to discover, create, and grow past the limits that have been assigned to them, and to transform assumptions, attitudes, and lives through the work that we do with the children.
The need: Taking the festival to an under-served, special needs group in our community through a dedicated arts program at their Summer Day Camp.
Beginning as a one day arts experience with parents and children with autism and cerebral palsy that has now grown into a 3 days per week 8 week summer art camp with The Arc, McLennan County. Exposure to art activities and experiences is a powerful therapeutic tool that can help further developmental growth. Children make dramatic and significant progress in the short time that they are exposed to the creative process. Through Easel Art and Clay Sculpture we help stimulate the immature sensory system with amazing results. The classes buzz with creativity. Our pilot program Music and Movement proved we needed more instruments and technology tools!
- Cognitive Development: Art activities can stimulate intellectual growth and reinforce academic skills at any functioning level.
- Emotional and Social Development: Art Activities are valuable tools in working toward goals for improved independence, self-awareness, and self-esteem.
- Communication and Language Development: Time spent on arts projects is a perfect opportunity to promote the use and development of language. With students that are non verbal we begin by encouraging eye contact, facial expressions, and simple natural gestures.
- Sensory and Motor Development: Art can be performed in any position. We create ways for students with multiple disabilities to make art.
Once confidence in an arts material is achieved, creativity takes over. Sometimes hand over hand techniques are used to help overcome the initial lack of confidence in the material.
Caregivers, who have known individual campers for years, have been moved to tears when they see how much and how far these children advance, even in the short amount of time that they have been exposed to the art program.
The art program helps to change lives, empowering and enabling the children to reach and surpass the assumed limits of their potential one student from 2008 now volunteers to be a summer art camp assistant!
Success: Our exhibition featured 500 works of art and impacted families, friends and church members of First Methodist Curch on Austin Avenue in Waco.