Arts for All is a non profit organization in Tucson, Arizona that encourages children with and without disabilities and adults with disabilities to be engaged with the arts.
It's mission statement is to provide accessible education, training and experiences in the arts, primarily for those with special needs.
In August of 1985, Marcia Berger, a creative pediatric physical specialist, established Third St. Kids, an after-school program in the performing arts for children with and without Disabilities. Before that, the nonprofit corporation, Arts for All, Inc., was founded by Steven L. Sles in 1979. By the year 1986, Arts for All, Inc. was turned over to Marcia Berger, who then merged Third St. Kids and Arts for All, Inc. into one. The organization has thus dedicated itself to provide an arts education program and experiences for children with and without disabilities and adults with disabilities. Every year more than 200 participants, from ages two to adulthood, all gather from all around the Tucson, Arizona area. Arts for All integrates such education and experiences through the programs of Adult Day Program, Out-of-School Time, and Summer Arts Camps. Arts for All handles the planning and programming for persons with physical, cognitive and learning disabilities, behavior problems, autism, visual and hearing impairments, emotional disturbances, mental illness, and seizure disorders with heavy consideration. The non-profit excels at being a great resource for the population with these special needs, where there isn’t a program dedicated to the arts for people with disabilities very commonly.
The three major programs at arts for all include:
Adult Day Program
- A program made for adults with disabilities that uses the arts to the program uses the arts of ceramics, dance, drama, music, and visual arts as a way of encouraging and promoting development in communication, intellectual, emotional and gross and fine motor skills development. The program was added to arts for all in 1998 and kept growing since. Some adults are in need of a 1:1 or 1:2 staff to participant ratio to take care of them. The need of the ratio gives the participants to receive the special attention that they may need. The activities mentioned is the structure of the day of the participants. At Arts for All offers a service where they use their lift vans to pick up and drop off some of the participants that need to be lifted and don't have other source of transportation to and back from Arts for All. Another service Arts for All incorporates into the adult program is the use of L.A.T. (laser art technique), the use of a laser that helps people with physical disabilities being able to draw and paint by using the laser on a canvas and having a staff member go over the canvas with a pencil or brush, following the tracks of the laser.
- From August - May, during hours after school, classes and activities for children and young adults from 2 - 17 years old are being given at Arts for All. Children with and without disabilities are to indulge in activities like dance, drama, music, ceramics, games, and visual arts. If needed, children are given a place to do their homework after school. This program was the first one that the previous program, Third St. Kids, had established in 1985. This program is of great need for a community that doesn't have enough programs that inspire children to be creative and be involved in the arts , especially for children with disabilities and children in low income homes. As it is an after school program, only two classes are offered at the end of the day.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Arts for All has opened their doors to their participants by giving them a space to go to their virtual learning classes through ZOOM, Google Classroom, and other online alternatives to in person classes. During these times, children are to follow their schedule to the catch up with their materials, do homework in between classes, and once the children are out of school, they are to join the group of children that are taking normal Arts fo All classes as part of their Out-of=School Program.
Summer Arts Camp
- For 12 weeks during the summer time, while schools are closed, Arts for All offers a program that has children and young adults from 2-17 years old participating in activities such as ceramics, dance, drama, music, games, and visual arts. The camp includes 35 classes a day with 100-200 children separated into different groups depending on the age group of the children. Each day starts at the playground at 8:00 am, in which the children get to play with the swing sets and other playground equipment for an hour until the first class. Three classes are given in the morning, Lunch and Playground happens in the afternoon. GAP Ministries, a nonprofit social service, offers their services to provide lunches for the children of Arts for All during the summer camp so that children, especially in low income homes, have lunch to eat while they attend Arts for All. Each week there is a special theme where the hallways of Arts for all are decorated to match each theme. Themes that occur each week include: Wild West Week, International Week, Space Week, America the beautiful, Under the Sea, Prehistoric Week, Dr. Seuss week, Giants, Elves, and Fairy Tales Week, and Back to School week.
- During the Winter, Arts for All also holds a Winter Arts Camp that functions similarly to the Summer Arts Camp where several children are invited back again after school is over and will be attending Arts for All for about two weeks before school starts up once again after Winter Break is over.
Arts for All hosts an annual talent show and art show gallery, typically held at Pima Community College's Center for the Arts on the proscenium stage. Parents, family, and friends of the participants of Arts for All are all invited to join to see the performers on stage. Children typically have choreographed dances they rehearse with a dance teacher and can perform any act of their choice when volunteered to do so. The adult participants also take a role in the talent show in the form of their Dance Ensemble.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, a virtual talent show was recorded instead of having a talent show at an auditorium.
Arts for All History. (n.d.). Retrieved October 13, 2020, from https://www.artsforallinc.org/history
Arts for All Annual Report. (2019). Annual Report 2018 - 2019.
Berger, Marcia. Personal Interview. 8 October 2020.