Community Programs

Young Artists’ Experience at Ryves Youth Center 

The Community School of the Arts has partnered with the Swope Art Museum to provide arts education and enrichment for an after school arts program at Ryves Youth Center. Ryves Youth Center offers services to any child who walks through the doors. Many of the children who attend Ryves can be described as “at-risk,” homeless or castaways. Ryves Youth Center helps children that range between three and seventeen years old, are about 40% are minority population, and are below the poverty line.

How many students are impacted by the project?

Approximately 1,300 children come through the doors of Ryves Youth Center each year,and has become a second home to its children. Ryves Youth Center was seeking programming, that would expose children to a whole new world and keeps them off the streets and out of trouble.

 The project objectives of the Young Artists’ Experiencewith Ryves Youth Center are:

  • Reach students in ways that they are not otherwise being reached
  • Reach students who are not otherwise being reached
  • Connect students to themselves and each other
  • Transform the environment for learning
  • Provide learning opportunities for the adults in the lives of young people
  • Provide new challenges for those students already considered successful
  • Connect learning experiences to the world of real work
  • Enable students to have direct involvement with the arts and artists
  • Require significant staff development
  • Support life-long and occasionally professional engagement with the artistic process.

Art Exhibitions occur every May and December

Art Connections at Westminster Village  

The arts have intrinsic value no matter ones age or health. They enrich lives by inviting us to express ourselves in new ways, and connect us through stories of a shared past, present and an imagined future. Through the arts, we can envision the world in new ways or use the arts to make connections to our past.

The Community School of the Arts and the Swope Art Museum  recently partnered with Westminster Village on an art program for their early memory loss residence. This program provides opportunities for learning and skill-building as well as the benefits of social engagement.

Alzheimer’s affects the brain in a predictable way. It destroys different areas of the brain progressively and in a predictable order. Everyone is aware that Alzheimer’s affects memory, and short term memory is one of the first things to fail. Eventually the disease will upset the working of every part of a person’s brain. This includes perception and the ability to understand, plan, and predict. One’s emotions and creativity seem to remain viable until much later in the diseases progression. When working with people who have dementia, it is far more productive to communicate using emotional and creative centers rather than logic and memory centers. This is why art making for those with memory loss  is such an effective means of improving quality of life.

Painting and drawing, even sculpting, are common hobbies. All are excellent ways to relax, but creating art is more than just a recreational pastime. Art provides a way to reach inside ourselves, to put on paper or some other medium, a representation of thoughts and feeling that we may not be able to express in any other way.

Art Exhibitions occur every May and December

Art Smart at 14th and Chestnut  

The goal of the CSA is to enrich the lives of those who live in the Wabash Valley no matter their age, economic circumstances, and ability levels. We partner with many local organizations with the objective of providing access to creative programs.

We are always humbled when the members of our community donate on behalf of programs that support local educational and artistic opportunities, especially those aimed at helping children. Yearly, a generous donation has been made by a member of the Terre Haute community to one of these programs.

Their donation has been directed toward a program known as “Art Smart,” which is held at the 14th and Chestnut Community Center, a faith-based nonprofit organization, located at 1403 Chestnut, Terre Haute, IN 47807.  The program is dedicated to ensuring that all children, regardless of their circumstances, have access to artistic instruction and creative opportunities.

Every summer, the students in the program are engaged in artistic endeavors that culminate in a small but engaging art exhibition. The donor supports the program at 14thand Chestnut and feels that the joy, creativity and smiling faces of the children who have been working diligently with the center’s teachers to create the art for an art exhibit would be a fitting tribute to honor  someone who has passed in the our community.

We hope that you will join us at our next art exhibition, to see the children’s art on display and to share in the joy that inspired the gift.

PACE (Partnering Arts, Communities, and Education)  

The Partnering Arts, Communities, & Education (PACE) program was established by the Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) in 2014 for the purpose of establishing long-term, in-depth, and sustainable partnerships between elementary schools with high poverty/low performing populations and arts organizations to impact student growth and achievement through extended arts and literacy experiences. PACE arts experiences occur as part of the academic day, at frequent and regular intervals throughout the entire school year, and align with the school’s planned academic curriculum. Arts educators and teaching artists collaborated to plan and provide instruction in the arts and to conduct ongoing assessments of student learning in the arts.

The Community School of the Arts received grant funding from the Indiana Arts Commission to develop a program called “Big Picture Thinking,” which was housed at Meadows Elementary from 2015-2019.

The Big Picture Thinking Program was developed to enhance the literacy level of students, both in and surrounding the Wabash Valley area, by using the visual arts as a vehicle to get youth interested in reading and writing while exposing them to artists, art forms, and art.

Sixty-five percent of the population are visual learners. The CSA developed a curriculum that embraces and supports those learners so that they may excel in the area of literacy. Our curriculum is framed around visual thinking strategies. This curriculum consists of artist, media, or movement selection, coupled with a book or handout selection relevant to the subject matter. Both visual and thinking concepts were explored through journal writing and creating visual pieces.


Fine Art Series with Happiness Bag  

The Community School of the Arts partnered with Happiness Bag to create a summer arts program for their patrons.  Happiness Bag, Inc. is the premier provider of educational and recreational services and programs that encourage and enhance the unique potential of adults and children with disabilities in the Wabash Valley.

Together we created a program that was educational and hands-on. This program was an “History of Art” class that allowed our participating friends of Happiness Bag to learn about a variety of artists/ artworks. With this knowledge, they  then duplicated a style of art or a specific technique. At the end of the program, there was an art exhibition. This allowed everyone to display their artwork and discuss some of the interesting information they learned while celebrating the unique art they created.

The project objectives of this program were:

  • To foster life-long learning through the creative arts for people with developmental delays and emotional disturbances
  • To provide people with disabilities opportunities that will celebrate each person’s unique abilities
  • To cultivate creative expression, build peer relationships, and foster self-esteem through activities in the arts
  • To provide a community-based program by creating an environment of warmth and respect

Across the board, research has consistently demonstrated that involvement in the arts increases student achievement across all subject areas, as well as social and adaptive skills. Part of this is due to the multi-sensory nature of the arts: memory and cognition improve when academic content is combined with color-coding, movement, rhythm, sound phrases, textures and other sensory input. Studies have also found that participation in creative arts reduces
stress, which in turn enhances the ability to learn. In addition, because procedural memory is more reliable than short-term memory, the daily routines of creative classes allow a person with special needs to retain that knowledge and experience.

The Fine Arts Series with Happiness Bag  provided people with disabilities opportunities that celebrated each person’s unique abilities while cultivating creative expression, building peer relationships, and fostering self-esteem through activities in the arts.