The Arts Access Method
"One of the founding principles of Arts Access is that of 'No Preconceptions.' Part of that is allowing clients to express ideas and thoughts in their own way, regardless of societal convention." --Keith Garletts, Arts Access Facilitator Manager
The Arts Access program equips participants with systems that enable them to create art on their own terms. Professional artists, who act as facilitators, assist clients with the art-making process using tools that are based on verbal, visual and perceptual communication. Clearly-defined chart and menu systems help to establish all aspects of communication between the facilitator and the participant.
These systems and tools allow the participant to inform the facilitator of his or her decisions regarding the artwork. The facilitator is not a collaborator. He or she is a neutral party who is used to translate the participant's vision or idea into a piece of art. Each facilitator strictly adheres to the four principles of the Arts Access program.
Freedom of Choice: Each work of art represents the result of a series of choices made by the participant. The participant is in complete control of his/her work environment and the art. The facilitator's responsibility is to present the choices and the participant's role is to make the choices.
Artist Assisting another Artist: The practice of an artist assisting another artist began during the early history of art. Artists such as Michelangelo, Matisse, and Sol Lewitt have utilized other artists to assist in the execution of their paintings. The Arts Access Program makes use of this unique approach. The participant conceives the ideas, makes all of the decisions in the art making process, and directs the facilitator.
Neutrality: The facilitator is a neutral tool available for the participant's use. The role of facilitator is not a collaborator or critic. During the facilitation process, the facilitator refrains from any commentary, opinion, or judgment of any kind. By refraining from offering opinions, the facilitator ensures that the artist's work is a true representation of self.
No Preconceptions: The facilitator makes no assumptions or preconceptions based on the participant's disability. The facilitator never assumes what a participant can or cannot do. Our belief is that regardless of levels of cognition, every participant has the capability to create fine art and to use it as a means of self-expression.