The great artist Edgar Degas once said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” Judging by this observation, you can automatically understand why SJCS has had such great success with its DC based ART Options Program. This program has allowed numerous individuals with disabilities to tap into their inner artist by using the arts as a way to express themselves. Where often it is hard for many of these individuals to verbally communicate emotions and opinions, art has given them a tool to non-verbally or physically express how they are experiencing the world and people around them.
Because of this success, SJCS is excited to announce that SJCS-VA recently launched its own ART Options Program. The Virginia ART Options program also supports individuals who participate to understand the content, technique and medium of the arts. The program aids in the development of skills that are rooted in managing life, especially social and vocational skills. In addition to art instruction, the program engages participants in community-based activities through which they can boost their skills rooted in personal and professional living.
ART Options-VA is also excited to announce the opening of its new studio space this past month. In partnership with the Convergence Church and Creative Community of Faith in Alexandria, VA., this partnership is unique in that the church itself focuses on and supports how the arts can further the intersection of art, faith and the human experience. The studio will provide numerous opportunities for community-based events to promote and sell artists’ work, and offer more avenues for community awareness and participation for our artists.
Amanda Cole, ART Options-VA’s Art Instructor says, “What makes our program so important is that our clients enjoy demonstrating their art for our exhibitions. They receive seventy-five percent of the money from the happy buyers and the remaining twenty-five percent goes to funding Art Options. What makes our program important to the community is that we establish careers for our artists so they can treat working as a fun hobby.”
ART Options puts to use the tools of the huge arts family of Washington D.C. and Virginia, particularly the Smithsonian Institution, including the National Gallery of Art, The Torpedo Factory, studios of diverse arts, and the Public Libraries in DC and VA.
ART Options-VA also prepares participants for careers in the art field. The ART Options Program in general has a laser focus on the fine arts, instruction for digital designing, helpful internships and lucrative jobs, programming for the public, visitation of many museums and galleries, art sales, and communication, all in support of the participant’s goals. The greatest success of ART Options-VA is not the actual art itself, but how art has changed the lives of the artists who participate in the program. Artists have learned to speak positively about the deeper meanings of what their work symbolizes. They always inform Amanda about how pleased they are with expressing their inner feelings and emotions, and also how satisfying it is to contribute financially to their dreams and goals. They take great satisfaction in spending time with people in the community who ask them about themselves, and in explaining their finest works the inspirations behind them.
Art-Options-VA is about people channeling their inner Michelangelo and Sistine Chapel. It is about instilling the depth of life through people’s wow-causing craftsmanship. It is about motivation for the compensation people receive for their art.