COVID-19 Update All community partnerships have been temporarily suspended.
Part of Chester County Art Association's mission is to bring art to all of Chester County. More than just arts education, our outreach is unusually broad, with unique programs to support suburban communities as well as underserved groups and areas.
As part of CCAA's community commitment, we regularly share the many benefits of the arts with all audiences. Migrant, disadvantaged and at-risk youth are given the opportunity to attend free and low-cost art classes, and emerging and professional artists are provided with new exhibition venues and opportunities. Our community engagement also encompasses seniors and individuals with special needs. CCAA has worked with private and public senior centers, the Coatesville VA Hospital and many youth groups.
Please contact Wendy Kershner at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information on our community partnerships or information on participating in any of the programs listed below.
▪ CCIU Migrant Education Summer Program Art Classes - West Grove/Jennersville In partnership with the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU), we offer free art classes as part of the Migrant Education Summer Program which pulls from all migrant workers’ children in the county. Kindergarten through 12th grade students attend a range of regional schools during the school year. Held at the Technical College High School facility in Jennersville, the 6-week program runs Mondays through Thursdays, and Tuesdays are the ‘CCAA art day.’ We provide 2 teachers for classes of 15-to-25 students representing up to 13 grade-levels. Over 250 students are impacted each week.
▪ Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Hospital In 2007, we established a free arts program at the Coatesville Veterans Hospital in Coatesville, PA, to extend our art offerings to this community. This program supports veterans; current participants come to the classes as part of the hospital's psychiatric outpatient treatment program. Terry DeAngelo, the CCAA artist instructor, has taught this program for over fourteen years. Once a week, he leads a group of 8-12 veterans, guiding them in lessons on composition and color theory. Terry, an accomplished painter whose work has been praised by Andrew Wyeth, feels that the VA program has touched everyone, including himself, in unexpected ways:
"When I first started, I didn't know if I could do this. I was never the guy who could stand in front of a crowd and talk freely... I am also dealing with people who are convinced that they can't be artists... This is different from any class – in art school, people want to be in class. I'm just asking them if they want to do this ... almost all of them say no. Then when they do start to go to class, it's a matter of convincing them that they can do it. It's not art therapy, but they generally come to the realization that maybe I can do this. It's a small opening; they say if I can do this, I guess I can do anything.”
▪ ELL (English Language Learners Art Classes) Launched in 2012, CCAA offers ELL/English Language Learners Art Classes for Chester County elementary schools. The target population for this after-school art program is students who have started Kindergarten and have some basic skills and understanding of the English language. Typically 4-to-10 kindergarteners attend an initial 8-week spring session. These same students are invited to attend a second 8-week session when they begin 1st grade the following fall. Students from China and Serbia-Croatia as well as many Latino/Hispanic students have participated in the program.
Classes have been held at the Hillsdale Elementary School in West Chester since 2015. Sessions have been tested In 2017 and 2018 at a second West Chester location and conversations begun with a few other county schools, but after-school transportation remains a challenge. So a new model was piloted with the Kennett Consolidated Kindergarten Center In the 2018-2019 school year. ELL art classes were offered to children during quarterly district parent meetings. In the first session, 50 pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students participated and created individual birds for a collaborative tree. All four sessions were very successful and incorporated new English art words for both the individual and larger collaborative artworks.
Hillsdale Elementary teachers speak highly of the work accomplished in the after-school ELL art program. The art classes are a welcome extension of the efforts already being made to help these young students learn and improve their language skills so that they remain at their age-appropriate grade level. Without solid English language skills, these students would quickly fall behind their age peers. Although there are various opportunities for classes that teach English as a Second Language, we are not aware of any other Chester County organizations that have incorporated art and creativity with ELL learnings. CCAA’a goal is to offer some sort of ELL art program in every elementary school.
▪ Senior Art Programs CCAA partners with senior communities to provide quality, low-cost and free art lessons to senior residents and guests. Dedicated and experienced CCAA instructors teach classes in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting and sculpture. Typically, 6 to 12 residents attend each program. Special projects have included multiple generations working on a mural for the Friends Home Kennett and banners for the West Chester Senior Center’s GrandFriends program.