Art therapy is a creative way for people on the spectrum to connect with others. As well as express themselves in a non-verbal manner, which they may feel most comfortable doing.
According to the American Art Therapy Association “artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem, and self-awareness, and achieve insight”. All of which are extremely beneficial for people with autism, learning how to better understand and regulate their emotions.
Fortunately, more organizations are taking notice and trying to do their part for the community. One organization in particular promoting art therapy, is the Very Special Arts of Kentucky (VSA).
The VSA, a non-profit organization in Kentucky, is a huge supporter of inclusion within art. Recently the organization granted funding to the Grayson Gallery and Art Center. A local gallery in Kentucky, that will host art workshops for children on the spectrum. The gallery has been given $2,500 to participate in a special Side-by-Side program for children. The program, hosted at the gallery will feature four to six art classes. Ending with an exhibition, where children can display their work to loved ones and gallery visitors.
The Side-by-Side program is curated by the VSA in the hopes of promoting a positive self-image within children with disabilities. Throughout the program each child will be paired with a professional artist from the community, that they work with one-on-one. This method ensures that every child receives undivided attention and is able to access their true potential, while learning various art techniques. Some skills learned will be drawing, painting, and sculpting, according to Mindy Click. Who is one of directors of the Grayson Gallery and Art Center.
The annual program will begin later this year, but as of right now there is no finalized start date. However, those who are looking to find out more on this program can visit the Grayson Gallery and Art Center’s Facebook page for any related updates.