Special Needs Services
At Hearts for the Arts Studio, we strive to provide an outlet that achieves creative expression in a way that promotes personal growth, confidence and self-esteem. We are dedicated to enriching the lives of all people; young, old, disabled and non-disabled, through the therapy of art. We teach a wide variety of artistic methods and encourage creative independence by giving students the opportunity to experiment with different media, materials, and techniques, as well as the chance to collaborate with other artists. We emphasize individual artistic expression and work alongside the artists, teaching them the tools necessary to bring out each of their natural gifts and talents. Hearts for the Arts provides a safe, positive, person-centered environment that celebrates the diversity of artistic expression for all abilities and backgrounds.
In the Studio
Our studio is fully handicapped accessible. We work with a variety of specific needs including (but not limited to): developmental and physical disabilities, mental health issues and brain trauma injuries. For those with physical impairments, we also offer unique artistic tools and projects, as well as teach various artistic methods. If you have specific requirements, please contact us prior to your visit so we can accommodate your needs.
We welcome those with special needs to attend any of our classes. If you'd like a smaller, low-sensory environment, we also offer weekly Art Therapy classes for all ages and abilities. Please see our classes page and calendar to learn more information on these classes as well as the days/time they are offered. Since classes are in a group environment, if you need one-on-one assistance, please bring a family or staff member.
About the owner, Shannon Andrus...
Shannon has a passion for working with those with special needs and has been pursuing this passion for the past 10 years. She opened Hearts for the Arts in 2008 originally just for those special needs, and prior to this endeavor, worked as Art Director and Instructor for MRC Industries, a non-profit organization serving adults with developmental disabilities and brain trauma injuries. Shannon has worked not only as an art therapist and mentor, but also as a skill-building coach in areas including: community socialization, practices in the work force, responsibility, determination, and many other life skills. She has also worked in Community Respite programs for children with disabilities as well as instructed classes through Very Special Arts for Grand Rapids Public Schools. She is certified in First Aid, CPR, Bloodborne Pathogens and is trained in basic safety, Recipient Rights, and the MANDT Program (self defense).
Shannon's love and passion for the arts and people is reflected greatly in her classes. Her uplifting studio is a place students can come to have fun, learn, express themselves creatively and most importantly, grow.