Each year, the Queens Museum provides unique programs for thousands of children and adults with varying physical, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive abilities across the New York City area. ArtAccess also provides outreach services to members of our community who are in special situations, such as those who are homebound, suffering from extended illness, incarcerated, or in foster care.
Piloted in 1983 as Please Touch to provide art education for people with visual impairments, ArtAccess has grown into a nationally replicated model designed to allow audiences of all abilities to enjoy a personal connection to art and cultural institutions.
Guided tours and workshops for self-contained groups such as NYC Department of Education District 75 school classes or Adult Day Habilitation programs throughout the city. Exhibition tours and art-making workshops are designed to engage all participants by providing layers of multisensory experiences and support for differentiated learning.
Adult programs provide opportunities to engage with art in a safe space for adults with special needs. These programs promote social inclusion and self-determination, and include:
- Open Studio, a bimonthly, hands-on visual arts workshop for adults of all ages and abilities, led by a licensed art therapist
- Partnerships with organizations such as the American Cancer Society and Selfhelp Community Services’s Virtual Senior Center provide a distance learning community for seniors who are homebound. For more information, please contact Michelle Lopez, Manager, ArtAccess at 718.592.9700 x138 or email@example.com.
Family programs The Queens Museum welcomes families with children with special needs by offering enriching programs for the entire family. These programs emphasize the role of parents as learning partners with their children. In addition, we support families of children with special needs to advocate for their children. In an effort to build an international network of families in museum access programs, ArtAccess is also taking part in State Department and initiatives by partnering with Museo ICO in Madrid, Spain.
Autism Initiatives are a slate of programs dedicated to creating more welcoming spaces in cultural institutions for families affected by autism. We have provided international guidance to cultural institutions in locations as far reaching as Australia and Korea. Locally, in partnership with the Queens Library, we have trained librarians across New York City on methods for supporting families and children affected by autism. Autism Initiatives include:
- Spinnerz, a club for teens with autism to encourage socialization through music and photography. Teens build lasting friendships while learning how to DJ using turntables and documenting their experiences through photography.
- Museum Explorers Club, where families affected by autism learn how to make the most of the educational and social opportunities available at the Queens Museum. A typical day includes visiting the Queens Museum galleries, art making workshops in our studios, sharing artwork, and having a dance party! Museum Explorers Club families also visit museums and art spaces across New York City.
- The Friendship Workshop, A Creative Sensory Program is a six-week series utilizes the arts to promote social skills and the language of friendship inspired by children’s books. Parents and children are invited to explore sensory-based activities together. Parents learn to use the arts as a tool to better understand their child’s learning styles.
- Room to Grow: A Guide to Arts Programming in Community Spaces for Families Affected by Autism. This guide published by the Queens Museum and funded by IMLS offers recommendations to community spaces, libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions for developing programs and experiences for families affected by autism. Read the book online here.
Professional Development Our ArtAccess staff is well versed in creating opportunities for educational and social inclusion of all visitors through the arts. Our staff of art therapists is trained in Creative Art Therapy and Cognitive-Behavioral approaches. Professional development opportunities in ArtAccess include training for arts integration and sensitivity training for educators, teaching artists, librarians, docents, and therapy professionals. To learn more about our professional development click here.
For more information about ArtAccess programs at the Queens Museum please contact Michelle Lopez, Manager, ArtAccess at 718.592.9700 x138 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Programs in ArtAccess are supported by grants from the John H. and Ethel G. Noble Charitable Trust, Museums ConnectSM made possible by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is administered by the American Alliance of Museums, Barker Welfare Foundation, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Astoria Federal Savings, and Michael Tuch Foundation. Additional support provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.