Friday, August 1, 2014

UCPRI - Adaptive Arts

Being so highly involved with the Cerebral Palsy Association here in Newfoundland, I enjoy making connections with other CP Associations, whether they be in another province or another country. We are all fighting for the same things. We are all striving for the same reality: a life without limits for people with disabilities. I recently connected with United Cerebral Palsy of Rhode Island, and learned about a wonderful program they offer that is making a difference and enhancing the lives of many individuals in their community.

United Cerebral Palsy of Rhode Island (UCPRI)

United Cerebral Palsy of Rhode Island is dedicated to advancing the independence, productivity and full citizenship of individuals with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. They offer a wide range of high quality supports for children and adults, from home-based therapeutic services, to community-based activities and supported living.

I was excited to learn about their Adaptive Arts Program, a wonderful initiative that gets individuals with disabilities involved in creating art!

About the Adaptive Arts Program

In 1995, the Adaptive Arts Program started out as an opportunity for a small group of individuals with disabilities to express themselves through poetry. Today, the program continues to offer art classes in drawing, painting and art jewelry / accessories to adults with disabilities living in the community, as well as the hospital setting. Through the use of adaptive tools, artists realize their full potential in artistic expression.

Art as Therapy   

Adaptive Arts provide a special freedom of expression and creativity for people with disabilities. In some cases, this form of independence is the only means by which a person can express themselves. Through Adaptive Arts, individuals with physical and intellectual challenges are able to utilize assistive equipment and therapies to overcome their challenges to freely create some truly beautiful creations. 

Supporting Adaptive Arts

The best way to support the Artists in this program is to promote the sale of their work. This provides a source of income for people that face unique challenges entering the traditional workplace but more importantly, provides a sense of accomplishment and acceptance when someone purchases a piece of their art.

A former teacher of the program described her experience:
"All of the people I worked with at UCPRI were so incredibly inspiring. It really changed me and made me a better person. I had so much fun doing the classes and coming up with projects. Everyone had so much joy and enthusiasm. I could also see how art really helped with self esteem. Some of the artists in the program had been through difficult circumstances. It was really great to see them get excited about a piece they were working on or accomplish something they didn't think they could."

All of the artwork that is produced is for sale, with 100% of the sale price from original works going directly to the artist that created it.

This beautiful glass bead and leather cord necklace was handmade by one of the talented artists in the Adaptive Arts Program. It came with a tag signed by the artist. I will wear it happily, knowing that there is a meaningful story and cause behind it. It is a conversation piece. "Where did you get that necklace?" "I'm glad you asked!", I'll say!  And I will spread the word of how we can encourage economic empowerment and create meaningful opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

To see a full line of their Artists' works, please visit

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