For the past three years, Wellington based nonprofit ArtStart has been delivering arts education programs to Wellington High School students who have been diagnosed with intellectual disabilities and autism. For the second year in a row, that education included a trip to the recently concluded Palm Beach Fine Craft Show, where 18 students enjoyed seeing, touching and learning about contemporary American crafts.
“They love this event so much,” said Jeannette Pomeroy Parssi, ArtStart founder and president, who led the students on a tour of the show. “The students were so engaged and full of questions for the artists, who were more than happy to talk about their work. Some encouraged the students to touch the work, or the materials used to create it, which went over very well with everyone.”
Initial funding for the program with Wellington’s ESE students is being provided by ArtStart’s board of directors. The program is fully funded for the 2013-14 school year. “Hopefully, we can secure funding to continue into the next school year,” Parssi said.
The goal of Wellington-based ArtStart, is to make the arts accessible to all. To that end, the organization has worked with a number of area nonprofits to develop and implement art programs that address specific needs and help forward its goals.
“We worked with the Mental Health Association, for example, to create a program that used theater to teach important life lessons to kids and teens,” Parssi said. “A program we delivered to the Potentials Charter School, which is part of the ARC of Palm Beach County, allowed students with severe disabilities to create their very own works of art. We also took those kids to museums and galleries, so they could enjoy the wonderful artwork on display.”
To make a donation in support of this or other ArtStart programs, contact Parssi at (561) 635-2037 or www.artstartinc.org.
ABOVE: Jeannette Pomeroy Parssi (second from right) prepares students for a tour of the Palm Beach Fine Craft Show.