Launching Our New Arts Program: SAAAC creative
Since SAAAC’s inception, the arts have always played a large role in our programming. Given that our Founder and Executive Director, Geetha Moorthy, was a renowned classically trained dancer, our leadership has always felt the arts were incredibly important and should play a role in helping individuals living with autism.
On Wednesday, May 20, with help from a number of partners and volunteers, we unveiled our new arts program, SAAAC Creative. SAAAC Creative is a visual arts initiative that aims to inspire creativity, enhance cognitive abilities and promote social inclusion for individuals with autism. Through artistic exploration, our students will work towards creating vibrant works of art to change perceptions of autism, raise awareness and beautify our communities.
The objectives of the program include the following:
1. Integrate applied behavior analysis (ABA) strategies within a creative curriculum to engage and foster student development
2. Promote public awareness of the creative capacity and potential of individuals with autism
3. Enhance participants’ sense of social inclusion through professional skills development and artistic recognition
4. Increase employability by providing participants with opportunities to work on creative projects and through the sale of artwork
Currently there are two major arts program operating under the umbrella of SAAAC Creative:
Hands in Motion- Arts & Crafts
Free Program – Monday Evenings (7:00 pm to 8:00 pm) – Ongoing
Hands in Motion is an Art & Crafts Program lead by local students and community volunteers. The program is utilized as both a therapeutic tool and creative outlet for students. Group centered art activities work towards creating crafts and art works for special holidays, occasions and as gifts.
Artistic Minds- Painting Program
Paid Program- Wednesday Evenings (6pm to 8pm) – Ongoing 8 Week blocks
Artistic Minds is a professionally led painting program that engages participants through the transformative power of artistic expression. Participants will learn the basic principles of painting and produce unique and original artwork. Adapted lessons and techniques will allow participants to develop and reinforce fundamental painting practices in a creative and fun atmosphere. Colour mixing, brush techniques, blending and shading are some of the key skills that will be reinforced as participants work towards producing artwork. Emphasis will also be placed on learning how to set up and clean supplies with the goal of promoting independent artistic practices.
Program Launch Party
There was a great turnout for the launch of SAAAC Creative. Families, volunteers, interested community members and leaders came out to support the program, including MPP Soo Wong who gave an inspiring speech in supoort of the arts and its life changing capacity. There was also an incredible performance by Karen Usha Gray, SAAAC’s resident music therapist along with some of SAAAC students singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. One of the great aspects of the evening was that the catering, decor and event setup was made possible by students from our pre-employment training program. It was truly a wonderful evening and a great start to what will be a very promising year for the arts at SAAAC.
Launch Party Photos Courtesy of Kashfia Alam Photography
This program would not be possible without two major partners:
Erickumar Emmanuel of Mortgage Alliance R & R Mortgages is our lead program sponsor for SAAAC Creative. Mr. Emmanuel has a decade of experience as a mortgage agent and has a long history of giving back to the community. His year long commitment to developing SAAAC creative is truly inspiring and we thank him for his generosity.
Our program also received an incredible boost from our second program sponsor, University of Ottawa Tamil Students’ Union. This great student group was able to raise $1,000 for SAAAC creative. We thank them for their incredible effort and for helping our arts program become a reality. Due to their efforts, SAAAC will have a structured and quality arts program year round.