“Raise A Paddle” is the section when we raise funds for a specific cause or “Special Appeal."This year, our Special Appeal is a new program called R.E.A.C.H. for the Arts (Recognizing Everyone’s Creative Hearts).
The R.E.A.C.H. program began in 2014 as a pilot program at Art in the Loft, as a 5 week program for special needs students from one elementary school. They came to the Loft to get hands-on experience in our culinary arts center. The program was such a success that it has been continued this year for students at Lincoln Elementary, Thunder Bay Jr. High and Alpena High School.
The program is under the direction of Culinary Arts Coordinator, Denise Cooper, a retired APS teacher, in consultation with Special Education Teacher and Special Needs Coach, Tracey Urlaub. The program is designed to incorporate core standards required by the curriculum, such as concepts of measurement and data, fractions and problem-solving, applying those concepts to the culinary arts.
Today’s population of children and adults with learning disabilities, Autism, Asperger’s, ADD, ADHD, and Down syndrome is growing. There is also a diverse range of physical disabilities that can impact access to the arts. The aim of the R.E.A.C.H. program is to allow individuals of all abilities the opportunity to experience the joy of creative expression through the arts, and also learn life skills and employment skills which foster independence in a supportive and inclusive environment.
Our goal is expand the program to include students with special needs from all Alpena Schools, as well as adults. Our “wish list” is to be able to provide 12 weeks of hands-on instruction in both the visual arts and the culinary arts at the Loft, including information on nutrition, meal-planning, and budgeting, as well as trips to the Farmer’s Market and supermarket.
The annual cost of such a program is more than $50,000. Our goal is to raise $25,000 to continue the next steps of the program over the coming year. With those funds, we would seek matching grants available to fund such programs.
With your help, the R.E.A.C.H. Program will continue to expand each year, empowering those with disabilities to learn, grow, and celebrate through the arts. Art in the Loft provides art and creative expression programming that enriches the lives of people with or without disabilities in every corner of Northeast Michigan.
THE R.E.A.C.H. Program is for All Arts, All Abilities. You will be able to Raise A Paddle at the live auction to help us REACH our goal tonight. You can also donate online or by clicking the "donate" button on your mobile bidding home screen.
Art in the Loft is Northeast Michigan’s premier arts center and gallery. Located on the third floor of the historic Center Building in downtown Alpena, Art in the Loft is a hub of activity and creativity in the region. Our mission is to enrich the quality of life in Northeast Michigan through an arts center that offers learning opportunities and increases public participation in the arts. Each season is filled with special events, activities, exhibits and workshops for all ages. Art in the Loft is a non-profit membership organization and 501(c)(3).