Over 60 million people in the United States live with physical, mental and social disabilities that can be difficult to overcome. Although these obstacles can make the path to success challenging for these individuals, one non-profit organization is making a difference. Artists Creating Together brings artists, art projects and students with disabilities together to build social skills and self-confidence through artistic creation. In just the last year ACT has helped over 5,000 people grow and succeed through art.
Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, ACT’s mission is to enrich the lives of individuals with varying levels of cognitive and/or physical disabilities by encouraging them to creatively express themselves through art. Founded in 1996 by the Junior League of Grand Rapids, their various programs have been a success from inception and have continued to grow through tremendous support from the community.
ACT’s Adult Summer Program, taught by professional teaching artists, is open to anyone with disabilities ages 16+. The studio program regularly features classes such as open studio and community choir but recently held a stop motion film class featuring iStopMotion. The students produced short stop motion films which were then merged into one long film for the final class. By working collaboratively with one another, the students foster different social skills and self-confidence through artistic accomplishment and creative fellowship.
In addition to traditional stop motion, the students and staff at ACT love iStopMotion’s time lapse feature. One student, featured in the time lapse short “Matt’s Moves”, finds comfort in repetitive movements and expresses himself through the sweeping motion of his drawing. This technique in combination with the stop motion film class presented a unique opportunity to use iStopMotion’s time lapse tool to capture the creation of his work.
ACT emphasizes that this technology makes it easier for students to be able to work collaboratively across multiple mediums and art forms. Working together and building social skills are key components of their programs and technology such as iStopMotion streamlines the process by allowing students to work on their own projects while also contributing to a collaborative piece. ACT adds that many individuals learn and grow through multi-sensory art activities and that this technology allows students to watch, hear and actively experience the arts in their own unique ways.
We love how ACT has embraced the arts as a self-esteem builder and developmental tool. The results are stunning!
For more information on Artists Creating Together and the fabulous work done by students and staff alike, click here!