The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) recently announced the awarding of a $19,000 grant to provide art education to students ages 5- 26 at Woods Edge Learning Center. This project, in collaboration with Kalamazoo RESA's Education for the Arts (EFA) will fund an art educator to work three days per week with WELC students; while also exposing other Artists-in-Residency to ways to work effectively with special needs students.
Since January 2014, Heather Bigelow, an art educator, has been actively working with WoodsEdge Learning Center students and staff to develop art projects that expose our students to a variety of medium, while focusing on students' individual needs and educational goals. Bigelow has had extensive experience working with persons with special needs through Kalamazoo Institute for the Arts Accessible Arts program and other grant-funded projects in the community.
Under the current MCACA grant, Bigelow will demonstrate to other Kalamazoo RESA Education for the Arts' Artists-in-Residency, techniques and strategies that are useful when providing art instruction to persons with special needs. Over the next several months, Bigelow will host other artists who will work alongside her as they also gain experience instructing WoodsEdge Learning Center students. Grant plans also include purchasing adaptive art supplies that can be utilized with students with physical limitations.