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Adaptive Arts Programs

State Listings: AZ / CA / FL / GA / IL / MA / MN / MT / NY / NC / OH / TX / WI / / (Official USPS State Abbreviations)
Country Listings: Canada


American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) mission is to advance public awareness of the benefits of music therapy and increase access to quality music therapy services in a rapidly changing world. For more information, contact the AMTA at 8455 Colesville Rd, Suite 1000, Silver Spring, MD 20910 or Phone: (301) 589-3300, Fax: (301) 589-5175 or send e-mail to: info@musictherapy.org

Little City: Center for the Arts is a website that will introduce you to the imagination and talents of artists with disabilities from the Art Center of Little City Foundation of the Chicago area which provides children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to explore and expand their unique and creative talents, promoting a sense of accomplishment and empowerment through the arts.

National Arts and Disability Center offers information on arts programs throughout the United States for individuals with varying disabilities. Listings include organizations dedicated to offering dance, theater, visual arts and more. They also offer an on-line gallery of artwork by artists with disabilities with an opportunity to submit artwork.

SignStage Theatre based in Cleveland, Ohio performs theatrical productions enhanced by sign language for the hearing impaired throughout the United States. They also offer a national Education Program that is designed to use the arts to complement and bolster traditional curricula and to create opportunities for deaf individuals to actively participate in the arts. For more information about tour dates or about the education program, call (216) 325-7559. You may also e-mail wmorgan@chsc.org.

VSA Arts offers accessible arts programs through a network of local, state, national and international VSA arts organizations and affiliates. Participants can learn about dance, music, painting, writing, and much more. For more information or to find an affiliate near you, visit their website, e-mail info@vsarts.org or call (800) 933-8721.

State Listings


Improbable Theatre, sponsored by Arizona Bridge to Independent Living, offers training in the art of acting and an opportunity for students to perform in a play. For more information see their website.

ARTability "is an informal consortium working together to provide access to Arizona's arts." Artability acts as a bridge between arts organizations and the disability community by promoting arts activities and events and arts-related accessibility services. Their site also features links to disability-related organizations offering artistic and other services.


Able Arts Work is a private, non-profit organization located in Long Beach, California. They offer a number of programs for individuals with varying abilities that are designed to "assist the students in their personal goals and achievements through a curriculum of creative arts therapies." Their mission is to provide lifelong learning, community service and vocational opportunities through the creative arts for people of all abilities and all ages in an environment of warmth, encouragement and inclusion. Able ARTS Work offers valid continuing education to further the education of board certified music therapists and other creative art therapists. For more information, call (562) 982-0247.

Creative Growth Art Center provides creative art programs, educational and independent living training, counseling and vocational opportunities for adults who are physically, mentally and emotionally disabled. For more information, call (510) 836-2340 or e-mail info@creativegrowth.org.

Creativity Explored has two locations in San Francisco, California and provides opportunities for people with disabilities to create visual art. The center at 2797 16th Street, San Francisco, CA provides opportunities specifically for people with severe disabilities. This website includes links to other art centers around the world.

Exploratorium Museum, housed within San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts, offers over 650 science, art, and human perception exhibits as well as a wide range of programs and events. To ensure accessibility, the museum offers the Disabled Access Program. The program ensures access to the museums exhibits, educational programs and events and also offers auditory technical assistance and sign language interpreters. For more information, call (415) 563-7337.

First Street Gallery Art Center is a program serving adults with developmental disabilities in Claremont, California. The program offers instruction on painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, collage, assemblage, and creative writing. Many of the works completed by students are exhibited in the Center's gallery and at many national and international sites. Artists can even sell their work, receiving 60 percent of the sale price. In addition to art instruction, the Center also offers instruction in social skills, self-advocacy, activities of daily living, communication and independent living skills. For more information, call (909) 626-5455.

Hope University is a fine-arts facility for adults with developmental disabilities located in Anaheim, California. Hope University offers courses in music, drama, visual arts, dance and community living skills. It is their mission to "train the talent and diminish the disability through creative-arts therapy." For information on enrollment, call (714) 778-4440 or e-mail hopeuniversity@msn.com.

National Institute of Art and Disabilities (NIAD) Art Center is located in Richmond, California. Classes are offered five days per week, six hours per day. The student artists learn drawing and painting, printmaking, ceramics, fabric arts, creative writing and basic computer skills. NIAD also provides weekly classes in independent living skills taught by a professional in the field. For more information, call (510) 620-0290.


Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens offers a Special Needs Program. This program is an affiliate of Jacksonville, Florida's VSA Arts, an organization dedicated to providing people with disabilities access to arts experiences. For more information, call the museum at (904) 356-6857.

Kaleidoscope, a musical theater program located in Sarasota, Florida, offers adults with developmental disabilities classes in singing, movement, acting and art. Upon completing class instruction, all students are invited to perform at a local regional theater. For more information, call (941) 355-8808.


Full Radius Dance, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a modern dance company that creates, commissions and performs work that challenges prevailing attitudes about disability and dance. They offer the Positive Motion program, which includes lecture demonstrations, dance classes and performance workshops for people of all abilities. For more information, call (404) 724-9663.


Little City Foundation located in Palatine, Illinois, offers several programs for artists at their Multi-Disciplinary Art Center. Project VITAL is a course in basic video production for people with developmental disabilities. Project VITAL is taught through community access television centers. The Media Arts Center of Little City Foundation takes graduates of VITAL and offers more advanced equipment and support for the artists. Workshops and artist residencies have expanded the arts programs in the Multi-Disciplinary Art Center. This website also has a list of national organizations that assist artists who have disabilities. For more information, contact people@little.city.org

Music for Special People is a Chicago Park District based music program for individuals with developmental disabilities. For individuals with a primary intellectual or developmental disability/primary physical disability of visual impairment. Participants learn the fundamentals of music: singing, playing instruments, listening and discovering the fun of music. This program has been designed to stimulate each participant by encouraging teamwork and self-esteem. For more information, visit their website.

Victory Gardens Theater located in Chicago, Illinois offers accessibility in each of its four theaters. The Victory Gardens mainstage is equipped with the Audiolink Personal Listening System to serve the hearing impaired. Additional offerings include Braille and large print programs. A great number of performances are designated as "access performances" each month. Advance ticket reservations are recommended. For more information, call (773) 871-3000 or (773) 871-0682 (TTY) or e-mail information@victorygardens.org.


Stepping Stone Community Theatre, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization based in Shrewsbury and serving people in the Central Massachusetts area. It is one of a handful of theater companies in the US whose members include individuals with and without disabilities. For more information, contact this theater company at P.O. Box 4216, Shrewsbury, MA 01545, or Phone: (508) 753-2588.

VSA Arts of Massachusetts promotes inclusion of people with disabilities in our communities and develops effective arts-based teaching strategies that allow students with and without disabilities to learn together. They are partners with schools, universities, community theaters, museums and large and small cultural organizations in every field. VSAM is a leader in the VSA arts international network founded in 1974 by Jean Kennedy Smith and affiliated with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. They have a guide to over 200 accessible arts and entertainment opportunities throughout the State of Massachusetts for people with disabilities. Contact VSA Massachusetts at 2 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116, Phone: (617) 350-7713, (617) 350-6836 (TTY), Fax: (617) 482-4298 or send e-mail to: cjwasburn@accessexpressed.net


Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts is a non-profit art center located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The center provides actors, musicians, visual artists, and writers with varying abilities an opportunity to develop skills, perform, and exhibit their work. For more information, call (612) 339-5145 or e-mail interactcenter@aol.com.

New Sign Upstream Arts uses the power of the creative arts to activate and amplify the voice and choice of individuals with disabilities. Their vision is to change mindsets about ability and disability and promote more connected and engaged communities by increasing intentional opportunities for shared creative experiences. Their programming integrates individuals with cognitive, developmental, emotional, behavioral, and physical disabilities into multidisciplinary arts residencies designed to develop skills vital to success in school, work, and life. Their local professional artists teach fundamental skills in a variety of art forms — including acting, music, poetry, visual artist, and dance — through fun activities that nurture self-expression, conversation, and group participation. Participants usually meet for 1-2 hours weekly over a designated period of time, often in a setting where they already receive services. Tor more information contact Upstream Arts, Inc., 3501 Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55407, phone (612) 331-4584 or send email to info@upstreamarts.org


Growth Thru Art is offered by AWARE of Billings, Montana. Adults with varying levels and types of disabilities are offered a studio based art day program designed to stimulate personal growth experiences, creative expression, independence, social skills building, dignity, and community integration. The program objects are four-fold: It develops the capacity for creative expression, increasing their sense of personal identity and pride. It provides a gallery and other exhibition opportunities for their work, thereby validating their work, enhancing their self-esteem and providing them with earnings for their personal use. It fosters socialization and inclusion at the studio. It increases the public understanding of the artistic ability of people with disabilities. The Council is located at 1050 S. 25th Street, Billings, Montana 59102. For more information, call (406) 656-0928.

New York

Hands On is a service organization dedicated to providing greater accessibility to arts and cultural events to individuals that are deaf or hard of hearing. Their website features a cultural event calendar that lists a wide variety of attractions adapted for the deaf or hard of hearing. They also offer a listing of sign interpreted theater performances.

Visible Theatre Inc. offers the True Story Project, a theatre training program primarily for artists with disabilities. Students are taught and mentored year-round by professional, able-bodied and disabled artists. Areas of study include relaxation for the stage, improvisation, movement, voice and speech, scene study, playwriting, text analysis, storytelling, comedy and poetry. These activities will culminate in an original production, written and performed by the student actors. For more information, call (212) 946-6328 or e-mail Visibletheatre@aol.com .

North Carolina

Enrichment Center, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, offers individuals with varying disabilities instruction in dance, drama, music, poetry and visual arts. This program has resulted in public performances, as well publication and CD releases including material written by the program's participants. "Nationally acclaimed for its work in developing artistic talent and careers in the arts for adults with disabilities, The Enrichment Center is one of just one of a few organization in the country that incorporates all of the arts-dance and performance, music, poetry and visual arts. They provide an avenue into the community or our artists, not as “artists with disabilities,” but as creative, talented individuals. Under the guidance or professional artists, our students earn money through the sale of visual art, published poetry, and fees for performance. For more information, call (336) 777-0076 ext. 102 or send an e-mail to artsprog@ols.net.


Passion Works Studio, located in Athens, Ohio, provides adults with mental retardation and developmental disabilities an opportunity to express themselves through their personal artistic creations. Each individual's accessibility needs are met through the arts program identifying the unique abilities of each participant. Art projects have included the creation of rubber stamps, original coloring books, window displays and even a parade float. For more information, call (740) 592-6659.

Dancing Wheels is one of the nation’s premier modern dance companies that integrates professional stand-up and sit-down (wheelchair) dancers. The company was founded in 1980 by president and founding director, Mary Verdi-Fletcher, who is considered a pioneer in the field of integrated dance. Throughout the last two decades, Dancing Wheels has performed, taught and inspired children and adults of all abilities around the world. In the United States, the company presents over 100 performances reaching audiences of 125, 000 each year through its educational outreach lecture/performances, residencies, mainstage repertory concerts and full length story ballets such as The Snowman. Dancing Wheels, 3615 Euclid Avenue, Third Floor, Cleveland, Ohio 44115.


Adaptive Dance through a collaboration between The Dance Council and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, as well as other individuals and agencies that serve children with special needs in the greater Dallas/Forth Worth area, is able to offer the following services: Adaptive dance classes for patients of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Instructor Workshops and Training Seminars, Consultation to dance studio owners on how to create Adaptive Dance programs at their studios and include children with disabilities in existing dance programs. Adaptive dance is the term for a dance/creative movement program that has been tailored for individuals with differing abilities, focusing on creating an open environment in which all abilities can participate. Participants learn a variety of dance steps, games and other activities that have everyone moving to the music. Props such as musical instruments, scarves, puppets, balls, and stretch bands are often used to enhance the overall movement and creative experience. In addition the program provides an opportunity to improve social skills, confidence, as well as the ability to participate in a group setting. For more information contact Deborah Dingwall Membership Director at 214-219-2290.

VSA Arts of Texas, Arts for All program strives to create a society where people with disabilities learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts. They are dedicated to the mission of promoting the creative power in people with disabilities by working with all community members to facilitate full access to the cultural and educational arts. VSA Arts of Texas is a member of the international network of VSA arts. For more information contact, VSA arts of Texas, 3710 Cedar Street #7 Austin, Texas 78705, Local phone: 512-454-9912, Toll free: 1-866-489-8412 or Fax: 512-454-1944.


New Sign Art Links 333 was opened by the Adaptive Community Approach Program of Waukesha. It is a performing and expressive arts studio, in Waukesha’s arts district which offers its members the opportunity to explore their artistic nature in an environment that is part of the arts community. There are several arts programs including ACAP PlayMakers, Music and Technology, Art Links Works, Varied Media Art, and Movement Classes.For more information contact them at Art Links 333, 333 W Main St, Waukesha, WI 53186 or phone (262) 522-7955.

Lake Country Fine Arts School and Gallery, 112 W. Capitol in Hartland, Wisconsin offers Adaptive Clay classes for people of all ages that have developmental or physical disabilities. The classes are offered two consecutive Saturdays each month from 10:00AM to 11:30AM and are wheelchair accessible. The cost is $15 per day, however, you will be encouraged to take both classes for $30 so you may start your clay piece in the first class and glaze it in the second class. For dates of classes for each month, schedule of clay pieces to be made, or to register, call (262) 367-2900.

Studio 84 A Creative Focus on Abilities through the Arts. Studio 84 is a non profit art studio in downtown Whitewater, Wisconsin that provides experiences in the arts for the community. They specialize in the creative and vocational development of people with disabilities including those with Autism, physical disabilities, cognitive limitations and mental illness. They have created an environment of inclusion, open to all ages and all abilities. They offer a Visual Arts Program, an Art Gift Shop and Art Gallery for their students. This Studio shows the example of how the arts can give people with disabilities the opportunity to learn new things and learn the skills to take on life's challenges with confidence. The students become artists. The studio was started by executive director, Deborah. For more information, call 262-473-9845 or send email to info@studio84inc.org

VSA Arts of Wisconsin is located in Madison, Wisconsin and is a branch of Very Special Arts Worldwide. The website describes the VSA Wisconsin programs and the VSA Wisconsin Ameritech Art Gallery and includes a Disability Resource Guide and a VSA Wisconsin Newsletter. The Wisconsin programs include Artist-in-Residence offering Creative Writing, Dance and Drama, The Children's and Adult Art Collection, an online art gallery, Choir, Marching Band, Training and an Art Center that supplements activities such as supported employment for adults with disabilities. For more information, contact vsawis@vsawis.org.

Country Listings


Centre for the Arts in Human Development is based at Concordia University in Montreal. "The Centre utilizes the creative arts therapies and applies them to promote growth and development, in people with intellectual and developmental disabilities." Participants are encouraged to move through their personal challenges toward the goal of increased self-esteem and social integration. For more information about this program, visit their website or call (514) 848-8619.
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