The mission of the Art Centers’ Outreach Program is to teach and reach through art experiences. Often those seeking enrichment are not able to travel to the Art Center or have some form of special need that requires a specifically adapted lesson plan. This may involve taking lessons to assisted living facilities, or programs for those with dementia to stimulate conversation and socialization. New visuals bring discussion, triggers memory and can lead into a burst of creativity and desire to learn something new.
We also lead a very rewarding program bringing sensory art experiences to the Southwest Alabama Regional School for the Deaf and Blind in Mobile, a school with no art funding. We have responded with tactile lessons that are adapted to their low vision. Our goal is to spread the learning and joy of art making to everyone who requests our help.
Over the past seven years we have delved into the world of environmental art, immersing area students in the concerns and education of our fragile Gulf Coast ecosystem. This is a collaborative program with Weeks Bay Estuarine Research Center and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Summer day camp programs include taking students out on the water and into the marshes, learning with the biologists about our native species and reinforcing learning through documenting with art.
Whenever possible the Outreach Program offers internships to students who want to become artists and/or art educators. This involves learning how to prepare lessons and teach those with special needs, whether physical, mental or emotional or contributing to the community through leading an art project that raises awareness or funding for others.
Presently our Outreach Program intern is working with the Fairhope/Point Clear Rotary Youth Club‘s “Artists with a Purpose” to further their art programs and raise money for The Haven, a local animal shelter.
Community Outreach means teaching without the limits of the walls that contain the Art Center. It responds to the needs of the community. It enriches and brings new learning to those seeking to discover the world of communication through art.
Internships are available on a limited basis for the Community Outreach Program. In the past, interns were part of the IB (International Baccalaureate) program, high school art clubs and college students pursuing an art career. Permission must be granted by the teacher/professor in charge of the students' program to receive service hours.
• Preparing materials for art lessons
• Assisting the Outreach Director in providing art lessons to various populations
• Providing one-on-one assistance in mentoring special needs participants
Mentoring is a large asset of this program, and we take it seriously.
Students will be encouraged to develop their own lesson plans and will eventually be able to implement them.
Previous interns are current students pursuing Masters Degrees in art therapy, fully accredited art teachers, or professional artists who are instructors at the Art Center.
• Southwest Alabama Regional School for the Deaf and Blind in Mobile.
• Squeaky Sneakers - collaborative program with Weeks Bay Estuarine Research Reserve.
• Silver Palette - Bringing art projects to seniors with memory or physical needs. Current partners are Shepherd's Place, Brennity of Fairhop and Daphne, and the Veterans Home in Bay Minette.
• Artists with a Purpose - Partnership with The Fairhope-Point Clear - Rotary Youth Club to "link" underserved at-risk youth to our community through art and and experiences so that they can reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible members of society.
• Art Without Limits - On site individual and group art instruction to people of all ages with disabilities and chronic illnesses.
• In 2010 ESAC was named a VSA Alabama Teaching Site, dedicated to serving children and adults with disabilities and chronic illnesses through the arts.
Community Foundation of South Alabama
National Endowment for the Arts
The Mapp Family Foundation
The Rotary Youth Club of Fairhope-Point Clear
Weeks Bay Estuarine Research Reserve
Sandy Sansing Foundation
Terry Thompson Chevrolet
Wells Fargo Foundation