LEARNING FOR LIFE

As the arts lose funding in public schools, one institution of learning in Schenectady, New York, is hoping to preserve a creative niche for a special group of kids. The Wildwood Program allows students with autism and other forms of complex learning disabilities to express themselves creatively and freely through the arts.

For more information on Wildwood Program, click here.

For more information on Albany Barn, click here.

 

Aired on December 17, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

> AS THE ARTS LOSE FUNDING IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, ONE INSTITUTION OF LEARNING IN NEW YORK IS HOPING TO PRESERVE A CREATIVE NICHE FOR A SPECIAL GROUP OF YOUNG PEOPLE.

THE WILDWOOD PROGRAM ALLOWS STUDENTS WITH AUTISM AND OTHER DISABILITIES TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES CREATIVELY AND FREELY THROUGH THE ARTS.

WILDWOOD PARTNERS WITH THE ALBANY BARN, AN ART ORGANIZATION THAT TAKES THE CHILDREN'S WORKS AND REIMAGINES THEM WITH THE HELP OF PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS.

I'M ALLEY PARROT, I'M AN ART TEACHER AT WILDWOOD SCHOOL.

THIS IS MY FIRST YEAR.

THE WILDWOOD SCHOOL IS A SCHOOL FOR KIDS WITH AUTISM AND OTHER NEUROLOGICAL DISABILITIES.

WE WORK WITH A BROAD RANGE OF STUDENTS AND ABILITY LEVELS.

IT'S JUST A REALLY INCLUSIVE PLACE FOR STUDENTS WHO DON'T NECESSARILY FIT IN AT THE SCHOOL DISTRICT, AND THE DISTRICTS AREN'T ABLE TO PROGRAM FOR THEM, AND THEY COME TO US, AND WE GET TO SEE THEIR POTENTIAL REALIZED.

SO TODAY WE WERE WORKING ON OUR PIECES FOR THE THIRD COLLABORATIVE ART SHOW AT THE ALBANY BARN.

HOW IT WORKS IS THE STUDENTS CREATE PIECES, THEY PICKED A MEDIUM, THEY PICKED THEIR SUBJECT.

AND THEN WE SENT WORK SAMPLES FOR THEIR ARTISTS TO BASE THEIR WORK ON.

IT'S A BUSINESS INCUBATOR AND RESIDENCY PROGRAM FOR EMERGING ARTISTS IN THE CAPITAL REGION.

WE GET SAMPLES OF THE ARTWORK FROM THE WILD WOOD SCHOOL AND THEN THE WILDWOOD ADULT ARTIST PROGRAM.

AND WHAT WE DO IS WE LOOK FOR ARTISTS WITHIN OUR NETWORK, WHOSE STYLE OR ENERGY OR COLOR PALATE TEND TO MATCH WITH SOME OF THE ARTIST'S WORK WE HAVE RECEIVED AND THEN WE TRY TO MAKE PAIRINGS BETWEEN ARTISTS AT THE BARN AND THE ARTISTS AT WILDWOOD.

SO IT'S BEEN KIND OF COOL TO SEE WHAT EACH ARTIST FROM THE BARN GRAVITATES TOWARDS IN TERMS OF FINDING THEIR INSPIRATION FOR THE FINAL PIECE AND PAIRING UP THE FINAL PIECES TO BE IN THE EXHIBITION.

IT'S A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR THE STUDENTS TO SO SEE THEIR ARTWORK HANGING IN A GALLERY AND HAVE THE EXPERIENCE OF THEIR FAMILIES COMING AND SEEING THEIR PIECES IN A GALLERY.

IT'S GREAT TO GET OUT AND BE A PART OF IT AND LET OUR ART COMMUNITY KNOW KIND OF WHAT OUR STUDENTS ARE MADE OF.

FOR THE ARTIST FOR THE BARN, A LOT OF TIMES IT'S AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THEM TO STEP OUTSIDE OF KIND OF THEIR 'NORMAL' ARTWORK.

SO THEY'RE NOT WORRIED ABOUT PRODUCING SOMETHING THAT FITS INTO A SERIES OR THAT MAKES SENSE IN THEIR OVERALL PORTFOLIO OF WORK.

BUT THEY'RE REALLY DOING SOMETHING SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS EVENT.

IT'S ALMOST, YOU KNOW, A GIFT.

I DON'T KNOW IF THAT'S THE RIGHT TERM.

IT'S REALLY SOMETHING THAT THEY'RE GIVING BACK TO THEIR COLLABORATOR.

IT REALLY -- THEY HAVE SUCH A SENSE OF APPRECIATION FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE WORKED WITH THEM.

I MEAN, IT'S SO FREE AND EXPRESSIVE.

IT'S MESSY AND -- WHICH IS GREAT.

WE ALWAYS TALK ABOUT IS IT OKAY TO MAKE A MESS IN ART?

YES, WE JUST NEED TO CLEAN IT UP WHEN WE'RE FINISHED.

AND IT'S JUST WHO THEY ARE.

I'M LOOKING AT THEM OVER THERE.

AND IT'S JUST THE WAY THEY TALK AND THE THINGS THAT THEY LIKE IS -- COMES THROUGH SO MUCH IN THEIR ARTWORK.

THIS IS WHEN THINGS COME OUT THAT I NEVER KNEW.

I DIDN'T KNOW THAT CERTAIN STUDENTS LIKE A CERTAIN COLOR OR LIKE TO DRAW BIRDS OR TREES APPARENTLY.

AND IT'S -- THEY GET A LOT OF OUT OF BEING ABLE TO COME IN AND EXPRESS THEMSELVES FREELY.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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