Our program, Flying Colors, also known as A.R.T. (Art Realization Technologies), was developed by Tim Lefens, a New Jersey- based artist; this program enables people with physical disabilities to create art. Since 2005, St. Michaels Association for Special Education (SMASE) has been trained in this process, which utilizes an abled bodied person to act as a “tracker,” who takes direction from the client artist to create a painting that the client has in mind. Clients chose their own shapes, colors and even the tools used to create the paintings, communicating by movement of a finger or turn of their head. Flying Colors provides a vital outlet for clients who might other wise not have the ability to express themselves creatively. Currently, Lavina Anderson, a para-professional staff in the multisensory classroom, is the primary instructor and tracker of Flying Colors here at SMASE.
Using the laser pointer attached to their head or other part of the body, student's can choose their colors and materials that the tracker will use to help them create their artwork.
An important component of our teaching is sensory learning. Due to cognitive challenges our students face, incorporating sensory opportunities is a valuable way our help students learn.
The tracker, in this case, Lavina Anderson, the instructor for the the Flying Arts program, tracks the student's laser and applies paint in those spots. The laser allows the student to show the tracker exactly where to paint.
By showing the student the work that they created, and by being excited about what is produced, students share in the rewards that come from artist expression and creativity.
The artwork produced through Flying Colors is framed and then showcased in various places, including across campus. Recently, our students' artwork was displayed in a major art museum! Art can also be bought, with a large portion of the proceeds going to the students and their families.
From October 6th through November 26th, thirteen of our students had artwork from our Flying Colors program displayed in the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Chicago. The exhibit was called “A is For Artist” and featured works created by adults and students with disabilities. It is such an honor to have had our students and clients works displayed in a museum of this magnitude.