Friday, September 23, 2011

Independence Starts Here Cultural Calendar featured at the 2011 Leadership Exchange in Arts & Disability (LEAD)

Check out the article featuring our work with VSA about our joint presentation featuring Independence Starts Here. This article is currently featured on the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance website.

Michael Norris, Art-Reach Executive Director, and Mimi Kenney-Smith, Artistic Director of Amaryllis Theatre Company and VSA, present at LEAD.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Join the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts to Celebrate the Opening of Lenfest Plaza!

This event is FREE and will feature the official lighting of Claes Oldenberg’s new sculpture, Paint Torch.  For more information check-out PAFA’s website

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Educating Kara

Kara is the granddaughter of Mimi Kenney-Smith, the Co-Chair of Independence Starts Here and longtime supporter of Art-Reach.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Autism-Friendly Performance of "The Lion King"

For the first time for Broadway in New York City, an Autism-Friendly performance will be held on October 2nd at the Minskoff Theatre with the 6-time Tony Award-winning Broadway show ,“The Lion King”.  The Theatre Development Fund (TDF), a non-profit dedicated to making live theater available and enjoyable for all, created a new pilot program called the Autism Theatre Initiative in accordance with their Theatre Accessibility Program (TAP), which helps make theaters accessible to people on the Autism spectrum and their families. 

Accommodations for this special performance include the reduction of loud or harsh sounds as well as a reduction of strobe lights concentrated on the audience. In addition, there will be staffed quiet areas in the lobby if there are any attendees who need to leave their seats during the performance. Another step  TDF took to make this performance accessible was to purchase all the seats for the performance so that they could be sold at more affordable prices. On the TDF website, there is a downloadable Word document to familiarize attendees with the theater and production beforehand, which can be very helpful for those on the Autism Spectrum who have anxieties about being in a large theater. 
Via Los Angeles Times &  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Making Our Region's Arts Education More Accessible with Art-Reach and VSA Pennsylvania

Wrap Your Mind Around This
Adapting theatrical arts education to accommodate people with disabilities
August 10th

On Wednesday, August 10th, leaders from 11 area theatres and dance companies gathered at the Adrienne Theatre to participate in a workshop hosted by Art-Reach and VSA Pennsylvania. The goal of the workshop was to develop teaching methods that will make arts education in our region more accessible to people with varying developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Mimi Kenney Smith, Producing Artistic Director of Amaryllis Theatre and VSA Pennsylvania gave an engaging introduction to the world of accessible resources for theatres. She discussed the difference between open and closed captioning (do you know it?) and shared her experience with hiring and directing actors with disabilities. 

 Presenter William Pearce specializes in teaching arts to students with disabilities and while leading the day’s workshop, he shared insightful examples of how he has created a rich learning environment for students with ADHD, autism, physical disabilities and sensory disabilities. We discussed teaching models that will enable theatres in the Philadelphia region to better serve a class, camp or other program in which attendees have varying ability levels and needs. For example, a student with dyslexia may be able to memorize a script more easily if the colors are reversed to read white letters on a black page or if every other paragraph is highlighted.

In one exercise, participants were challenged to fold an origami frog using different sets of directions that were modified based on different disabilities that a student might have. In this photo, participants attempt to fold the paper without the ability to bend their left arm.

At lunch, Stephanie Carr, Managing Director of Pushcart Players in Verona, NJ presented a Children’s Theatre program for kids with autism run by Pushcart and Papermill Playhouse. Their program enabled audience members to “meet their seats” and get used to the theatre’s space before the performance. The performance itself featured consistent lighting and sound levels and kids in the audience were free to talk, sing along and leave their seats during it. Families were able to enjoy themselves without the usual worries about their child being upset or disrupting other patrons.

Participants share ideas and plan on how to implement inclusive teaching methods in their education programs. Maureen Sweeney, Director of Education at Philadelphia Theatre Company shares her experience and how she could adapt some of her activities to reach more students.

All in all, the day was inspiring and rewarding. We all walked away with a new understanding of what students with disabilities might need from our arts education programs, how to ask them or their parents, and what resources can help us make these changes.

Art-Reach thanks the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation for their support of this project and the cultural organizations partnering with us to make Arts Education more accessible for all students.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Alexander Calder!

Alexander “Sandy” Calder was born to two artist parents on July 22nd 1898 in Lawnton, PA.  His mother was a famed portrait painter and his father was a sculptor who specialized in public installations. Calder is most known for creating the mobile in 1931 as well as his public structures.  Many of Calder’s works have been showcased and currently reside in Philadelphia. In 1949, Calder’s mobile the International Mobile was the center piece at the 3rd Sculpture International held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art among 250 artists.  One of Calder’s mobiles known as “Ghost”, created in 1964 resides in the Great Stair Hall of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.   The Three generations of Calders; Alexander “Sandy” Calder, his father Alexander Stirling Calder and his grandfather Alexander Milne Calder, worked in succession to complete a series of works on the Ben Franklin Parkway.  Milne created the William Penn Statue atop Philadelphia City Hall. Stirling created the Swann Memorial Fountain (also known as The Fountain of Three Rivers) at Logan Square on the Ben Franklin Parkway.  Where these work lie, on the Parkway, is also the spot for the proposed Calder Museum, which would not only honor Calder’s great work but the great work of his father Alexander Sterling Calder and his grandfather Alexander Milne Calder.

Even the popular search engine site Google has chosen to commemorate Calder's birthday with a uniquely designed mobile as the banner on the homepage.  Further showing the impact Calder's art had on the world at large.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Surrealist Painter Frida Kahlo Born on This Day in 1907

Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderon, known simply as Frida Kahlo; was born on this day, July 6th in 1907 in Coyoacan, Mexico City. Frieda claimed that she was born on July 7th, 1910 although her birth certificate states she was born on July 6th 1907. Kahlo said she did this so that she would be “born” after the Mexican Revolution,which began in 1910 and ended with the creation of the Mexican Constitution of 1917. into the new, modern Mexican society. 

Self Portrait-The Frame (1938)

Frida Kahlo is most known for her surrealist self portraits stating, “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best”.  Frida began painting after she became temporarily immobile from a car accident as a teen as a way to occupy her time.  Kahlo’s work was inspired by indigenous Mexican culture and religion combined with a Surrealist twist of her everyday life.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Rain Parade: A New Booking Chronicling Art-Reach In-facility Artist Julia Blaukopf

Need summer reading material? Be sure to check out The Rain Parade, a new book chronicling Art-Reach In-facility Artist Julia Blaukopf’s journey in Ghana.

Read more about the book here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Help Art-Reach Raise $1500 by June 30!

If we meet this goal, our $1500 will be matched dollar for dollar and we need your help to do it! If 60 people donate $25 each, we will reach it in no time.

Here's how you can help:
- Donate $25 to connect audiences with arts and culture by clicking on the link above
- Click here to "Like" Art-Reach on facebook
- Tell your friends about this campaign! Send them this blog post with a note about why Art-Reach is important to you, or repost it in your facebook status.

Your donation will help us to provide arts experiences to underserved people in the Philadelphia region much like the outdoor Latin music concert pictured above . Here are some examples of what your gift can do.

$25 = Tickets for 20 kids to attend a theatre performance

$50 = 10 tickets for a guided tour of Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Art-Reach In-facility Artist Gives Away An Entirely Green Music CD To Celebrate EARTH DAY

Art-Reach roster artist and area multicultural performer, DARIA decided to celebrate Earth Day in a unique way this year – she’s giving away 6 of her most popular songs to anyone who sends her a suggestion of how they care for the Earth.  The cd goes out to her fans in an all-downloadable format with liner notes, songsheets and activities all viewable online, without the need to waste any paper, discs, wrapping, packaging or other unnecessary components.  And because it’s free, it shares the idea of consuming less while still having fun with fun with your family, your kids, your classroom or your community.  The songs included on this cd include several that have been used in classrooms around the world to teach tolerance, and share positive values and build bridges between cultures.  As the Christian Science monitor put it in a recent article about her songs: “When Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou makes music, the world listens– literally!” 

What does Daria do with the suggestions she receives about caring for the Earth?  She partnered with two other environmentally conscious artists and created a blog called: 1000 Ways To Love The Earth (  Since the blog launched on April 4th, they’ve received a landslide of suggestions from countries as far away as Japan, Hungary, France, Uruguay, Australia, the Virgin Island, Russia and the USA. Says DARIA: “ It’s so inspiring to read how important this issue is to folks from around the world and how active they are in finding ways to make a difference in their homes and communities.”  Suggestions so far have ranged from serious to simple to silly; such kindergarten teachers who set up their own worm bins, to Japanese school children who eat by lunch by candlelight to conserve energy to a three year old who thought it would be good to “feed the birds and not squish spiders”.

The blog also features a popular spot entitled FREE AND GREEN where popular multicultural artist, Farah Aria offers free Earth Day posters (downloadable, of course) art activities and color poster give-aways.  Under that section there are also links to free Earth Day videos and animations plus activity sheets that share how to make instruments such as didgeridoos from all recycled components.

For more information, visit or check out the Earth Day tab on Daria’s world music for kids website at

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Temple U Students Working to Raise Money and Awareness for Art-Reach

An Entrepreneurial Marketing class at Temple University gave 4 students the challenge of the 10-10-10 project. The goal of the project is to give students an opportunity to engage in “real” entrepreneurial marketing projects to learn about the power and reach of social networking. The concept: Give 10 student teams $10 each and have them multiply that money by a factor of 10 – doing projects focused on issues around sustainability, charity, and community.

Click here to see the TU for Art-Reach Blog

Art-Reach is happy to have this team supporting us!  They will be raising money through a number of different events including a basketball tournament and a raffle for a Pocono Mountain getaway. The raffle and events are open to the public so please support them! The students will also be volunteering their time and services.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wheelchair Art at Please Touch During Art-Reach Day

Check out these wheelchair artists who will be joining Art-Reach's artist roster very soon!
Art-Reach Day at Please Touch

Monday, February 7, 2011

PNC Arts Alive Family Day at the Opera this Weekend

Looking for fun, free weekend activities?  Be sure to check out PNC Arts Alive Family Day at the Opera.

On Saturday, February 12, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., the Opera Company of Philadelphia (OCP) opens its doors to area families for the PNC Arts Alive Family Day at the Opera, a chance to journey behind the scenes of the Company’s upcoming production of Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet (February 11-20) and to learn about the magic of opera. From face-painting and stage combat demonstrations to a fashion show and a recital, this fun-filled day offers something for everyone.

Attendees will be permitted to tread the stage of Philadelphia’s historic opera house and explore Romeo’s set, visit the stars’ dressing rooms, sit in the orchestra pit, and participate in engaging interactive sessions in the Academy’s Rehearsal Hall and its stunning ballroom.

By allowing young people an in-depth look into the world of opera, OCP hopes to provide a unique understanding of the art form and its creation, allowing hands-on participation in several genres that are integral to opera and opportunities to talk to the artists who create the performances.  Read more here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What do Miss America & Art-Reach Have in Common?

Talented percussionist and Art-Reach In-Facility artist Tony Mascara wrote and recorded the music for Miss New Jersey- Ashleigh Udalovas’s talent portion for the Miss America Pageant happening this week in Vegas! You can cheer her on tomorrow night (Saturdays, Jan. 15th) at 9pm (her talent performance will only be televised if she makes it into the top 15, but our fingers are crossed!) and here's a sneak peak of the music...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Julia Blaukopf Featured in EducationWorks’ December Newsletter

Need some Snow Day reading material?  Check out this recent article featuring Julia Blaukopf’s in-facility session at EducationWorks.

Also, be sure to check out the new Art-Reach Spotlight article featuring Julia here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Matt Bryan Promoted to Program Director

Art-Reach is pleased to announce that Matt Bryan has been promoted to Program Director. In his previous role as Program Manager, Matt oversaw day-to-day operations of the Ticket and In-Facility Programs. Over the past year, Matt’s focus has turned strongly to include developing strong relationships with members both with potential organizations as well as guiding current members in the best ways to use the services Art-Reach provides.  Matt has thrived with this charge, empowering members to think creatively and utilize all resources available to them, and we are proud to announce that his title is officially being upgraded to include this responsibility in an ongoing capacity. 

Matt joined the Art-Reach team in February 2007, following a successful internship with the organization. Now closing in on his fourth successful year with the company, we are thrilled with his compassion and commitment to ensure that the arts remain accessible to everyone. Please help me congratulate Matt Bryan on his newly enhanced role with Art-Reach. Together, Matt will allow us all to raise our bar on service and make 2011 a phenomenal year!

Stephanie Borton, Associate Director