New Arts Program for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at Silvermine Arts Center

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Silvermine Arts Center, in partnership with STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way, announced on Thursday the creation of a new arts education program called “ArtAcademy.”

ArtAcademy taps into the transformative power of art for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) by engaging them in a variety of art classes in an inclusive setting on Silvermine’s campus.

— an announcement from Silvermine Arts Center

This new initiative expands Silvermine’s previous collaboration with STAR held at the Norwalk Public Library where students sampled classes in watercolors, pastels, and collages.

On-site classes at Silvermine will enhance the instruction and experience by offering proper studios with special facilities and equipment in a creative environment where STAR participants will interact with teachers and fellow students.

STAR Silvermine ArtAcademy

Photo from Silvermine Arts Center

Collage art class with STAR students and Teaching Artist from Silvermine Arts Center

“ArtAcademy will offer the resources and pathways for adults with I/DD to explore, develop, and share their talents — and perhaps even discover skills that might lead to career development,” said Robin Jaffee Frank, director of strategy and development at Silvermine.

“The STAR participants will develop art skills and social interactions, leading to improved creativity and independence,” Frank said. “Their accomplishments are an inspiration that we hope to display at a future reception! We thank our enthusiastic partners at STAR, especially Martha Speigel, Kari Ryan and Peter Saverine.”

The program fosters not only artistic and social development — but also joy through art. Classes will run weekly throughout winter/spring and fall semesters, with courses in drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, mixed media and sculpture.

“ArtAcademy’s specially designed curriculum encourages personal accomplishment and engagement with others as a team,” said Peter Saverine, director of philanthropy at STAR, Inc. “By attending these classes on the Silvermine campus, STAR participants experience full inclusion in the student and artist community.”

STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way, was established in 1952 by parents who believed that children with intellectual & developmental disabilities (I/DD) were entitled to the same basic opportunities as other children.

Today, STAR provides an array of services for over 600 individuals with disabilities, from birth to seniors living in Fairfield County. STAR creates opportunities to live full lives with respect, independence, freedom of choice and personal growth by providing support, services & advocacy to our neighbors and their families.

The Horizon Foundation and the Sidney Weiner Memorial Scholarship Fund generously provided inaugural funding for the program.

Since its founding in 1997, Horizon supports non-profit organizations that aspire to create and maintain sustainable, vibrant, and resilient communities by enabling children and adults to lead their communities in creative, healthy, and thoughtful ways; educating citizens to be good stewards of the environment; conserving land and water resources; encouraging service to others; promoting visual arts and music, and teaching appreciation of and preserving historic assets.

Silvermine Arts Center is one of the oldest artist communities in the United States. Its five-­acre campus in New Canaan consists of a nationally renowned artist guild, an award­-winning school of art offering classes for all ages, an arts and fine crafts shop, and a gallery offering over twenty contemporary and historic exhibitions annually.

Silvermine is a non­profit 501c3 organization that also offers an Outreach Education Program, Art Partners, and hosts lectures, film screenings, and special events. Silvermine Galleries are open six days a week from 12 to 5 p.m. and by appointment Friday. For more information, call (203) 966-­9700, ext. 20 or visit the website.

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