Community

CSMA Artistic Intelligence: Making music and art accessible to everyone


The Community School of Music and Arts ensures that the arts are accessible to all, including special-needs participants in its Artistic Intelligence program.

• Mission: The Community School of Music and Arts ensures that the arts are accessible to all, including special-needs participants in its Artistic Intelligence program, which has existed for more than a decade.

• 2019 update: Between September and next May, an estimated 100 children and adults from Gatepath + Abilities United and Morgan Autism Center will take dance, music and art classes at CSMA three days a week.

“We have been in partnership with CSMA for over 12 years,” said Andrea Throndson, community connections developer at Gatepath + Abilities United. “One word sums up this partnership: ‘fantastic.’ CSMA has enriched the lives of our participants with art, dance and music. Not only do they race to get out of the door on CSMA days, they spend days talking about it afterward. CSMA has brought a world of creativity to our participants and we are forever grateful.”

Artistic Intelligence students come to CSMA with a range of strengths and challenges, and the curriculum is designed to support their development, no matter their starting point.

CSMA art teacher Marita Musante, who works with students from the Morgan Autism Center, sees the class as much more than a feel-good exercise; it’s a vitally important part of the students’ growth.

“I have the privilege of witnessing artists discover their abilities,” she said. “A young woman started by scribbling circles, drawing the same pattern, seemingly oblivious to the task presented. After a couple months of weekly classes, she began to explore different shapes and media, and as her pieces changed, her confidence grew. Creating beauty in a group setting also furthers social skills: respecting and understanding personal space, cooperation, following multistep directions and resource sharing. Outside class, these same skills can contribute to greater independence and quality of life.”

• Why the Holiday Fund is needed: Holiday Fund donations subsidize the program and enable students from Gatepath + Abilities United and the Morgan Autism Center to participate.

“Donations from the Holiday Fund provide dedicated funding for these important partnerships,” said Vickie Scott Grove, CSMA executive director. “The program is at the heart of our mission, and we are very proud of the students’ accomplishments.”

CSMA Artistic Intelligence Program

Location: Community School of Music and Arts, 230 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View

Founded: 1968

Annual budget: $7 million

Staff: 160 staff and faculty members; approximately 30 volunteers

Information: arts4all.org

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