The United States has seen a decline in access to art programs and education. A recent study shows that as of 2020, only 19 states include art as a key area of funding allocation. However, art-based programming has proven to increase the percentage of low-income students graduating from college by more than half, and students in schools with art programs, compared to those without, see a decrease in receiving disciplinary action by 3.6%.
With these stats alone, it’s difficult to understand why some communities lack art-based programming. Fortunately, here in the Tampa Bay Area, there are five nonprofits building community through access to art education and creative expression.
PYRAMID is located throughout the US with locations in New York, Philadelphia, and Florida. They provide creative and performing arts programs for people with long-term cognitive and physical disabilities. They employ professional artists and performers who create classes that each student can select, similar to choosing college courses. Every year PYRAMID holds an art showcase of every piece of art their students have created. This showcase brings in donations, art sales, and an experience for students to share their art with the community.
Arts4All Florida Inc.
With its headquarters located at the University of South Florida, Arts4All is dedicated to bringing art education throughout Florida. They work to bring creative opportunities to local schools, the Department of Juvenile Justice facilities, and community centers. Working with these intersecting communities, Art4All promotes its artists’ accomplishments through gallery showcases, performances, and career-building resources.
Similar to PYRAMID, ArtThread works with people with disabilities. They are passionate about building a community where people with disabilities can be creative and learn through art. With the help of Arts4All Florida, ArtThread developed the Work of Art Program. This program is designed to train artists with disabilities to explore career opportunities and develop technical and entrepreneurial skills. ArtThread works directly with local high schools and learning institutes, providing art education and technical and research-based education.
Located in the heart of Downtown Saint Petersburg FL, Creative Clay provides community art programming for nearly 60 adults with neurological disabilities each week. They also offer an open studio scholarship program for adult artists with disabilities. Although they focus primarily on people with disabilities, they host summer learning sessions for ages 6-22 that are open to people of all ability levels as well.
Dose of Music Charity
Dose of Music Charity is dedicated to making a difference through music. They hope to bring music to the community, providing hope and happiness for all. This faith-based non-profit provides music entertainment to hospitals, assisted living and nursing homes, hospice, and benefit events. They host volunteer events such as Christmas Caroling in nursing homes and hospitals.
Anni Albers once said, “Art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness.” Through these organizations’ efforts, art is truly bringing a new kind of happiness to everyone they serve.