A Family of Artists

February 2, 2008 at 4:48 am Leave a comment

At some point in the near future,  (I DID IT. CHECK OUT THE PAGE LINK ABOVE. THE BOOK- “ARTS AND SOCIAL SERVICES: SEVEN YEARS IN THE LIFE OF A FAMILY OF ARTISTS” IS POSTED. I STILL NEED TO UPLOAD A COUPLE OF THE CHARTS )I will be adding information about the art center that I ran for ten years called A Family of Artists. A Family of Artists was an all purpose art center and 501c3 Arts Service Organization. Though we had gallery shows, general art classes of all kinds, a gift shop, and even a teen night club called The Gate, A Family of Artists and its sister organization, A Family of Artists: The Works, were known, primarily, for their summer camps, after school programs and arts alternative school, mainstreaming at risk kids, sent from social service agencies and psychiatrists and employing 28 staff members, mostly artists, paid by Medicaid funds – a first I’m told. At its height, A Family of Artists: The Works was housed in a 10,000 sq ft warehouse building with a gallery, ceramics and woodworking studio, computer art and computer music labs, a writing lab and library, visual arts studios, photography and papermaking studios, metal sculpture studio and more. The programs were highly multicultural and children sent from agencies could remain annonomous, being, in most cases, indistinguishable from children attending from the general public. This program was a major success, financially (at the end, bringing in 18,000/week in service fees until funds were cut), but more importantly, a success for families and participants who were overwhelmingly pleased with the program, until it was surprisingly defunded by medicaid cuts in 1996 – though the arts alternative school remained until 1997. There are many hours of videotape and many written accounts already available and some will be posted as an educational tool. A book, The Arts and Social Service: Seven Years in the History of A Family of Artists was published in 1994 by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania and it will be available on line along with updates detailing the final three years. This book tells the story of the beginnings of A Family of Artists when it was a labor of love, funded by The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Talbot Hall Foundation of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, PA., The Deutsh Institute and mostly by Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Planning Council.

A Family of Artists and A Family of Artists: The Works were social service providers and experienced stunning success. They were extremely rewarding for the remarkable artists who gave themselves to this endeavor and life saving for numerous children. These programs could serve as a model for others who wish to use the arts to reach at risk children through the arts. I look forward to offering here as much information as possible to help others pursue this rewarding adventure in their own communities. I will post testimonies from many of those who were touched by this amazing organization and encourage anyone with first hand knowledge, who happens upon this site, to join in. For now you can find a short video at http:/abstractart.hypermart.net

Click on arts administration.

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Entry filed under: art, Art Education, Arts Administration, Arts for a Change, At Risk Youth, Social Service, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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