ArtReach is taking a new approachMeet the new ArtReach. The program, which for several years has offered art classes and activities for young people and adults, is taking a new approach.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
Meet the new ArtReach.
The program, which for several years has offered art classes and activities for young people and adults, is taking a new approach.
“I’m kind of taking ArtReach into a different direction,” said Sue Awes, who joined the organization as director in November.
Beyond the classes, she said, “Our focus now is really to provide free art classes to those who are not able to have the opportunity for art.”
Children will continue to be served by ArtReach. In addition, the organization is developing new programs for groups that are disadvantaged or underserved when it comes to the arts, including students who are considered at-risk, senior citizens, and people staying at the Women’s Center.
“I have a passion for seniors and children, so that’s worked out really well,” she said. “We’re serving the most vulnerable populations of the community.
Awes, who has a master’s degree in gerontology, has run an adult day center in Minneapolis and also been a parent educator and worked in early childhood education.
“We brought a lot of arts to the day center. I knew how important that was, to have something that they can do,” she said. “Seniors are very capable. They need more things to do, instead of just having things presented.”
Collaborations are already in place with Fairview Ebenezer Assisted Living Facility and Seminary Plaza.
The Women’s Center residents have started coming to the ArtReach center at 112 Bush St. While they are there, volunteers work on projects with their children.
“It’s a safe, positive environment,” Awes said, and the activities are intended to promote self-esteem and serve as a stress reliever.
The children’s component remains strong. Working with Hope Coalition, Awes said, ArtReach serves young people in the Kids Count program, which includes abused children; and Youth Outreach, which involves at-risk youths. Additional collaborations are anticipated.
Although ArtReach is no longer offering some of its former programs, such as computer classes and open studios, Awes intends to continue participating in community events such as the Fall Festival of Arts, River City Days and the Anderson Center shows.
“Our services are very different than the Red Wing Arts Association and the Anderson Center,” she said.
“We will do the groups others in the community are not serving” in a direct fashion.