A collaboration between the NAA the Newburyport Opportunity Works, http://opportunityworks.net (or visit their Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OpartProgram) OpArt, provides individuals with disabilities hands on art instruction using different media, techniques, and materials, and the chance to realize their life’s ambitions through the creative process in the visual arts.
In 2004 the NAA started an art training program for the associates at Opportunity Works in Newburyport, MA. An NAA volunteer and staff member facilitated the program on a weekly basis in an open classroom environment using very basic art materials, such as crayons, poster paint, and construction paper. Program funding was provided by the NAA, and the first exhibition of the associates’ work was held at the NAA in February of 2005.
Today, this critical art education outreach program - OpArt - is managed by a coordinator on the NAA staff, Rachel Forte and NAA Board Member Jenna Signore, with the help of several volunteer NAA Members. The program has grown to include the participation of talented associate artists working with advanced art supplies and techniques, such as acrylic paints, pastels, water colors, charcoals, photography and sculpture. The artists have enjoyed growing recognition at the regional and state-wide levels for the quality of artwork created. The program is now widely known for the positive impact it has had on artists with special needs over the years. Sales of the artwork in various retail venues support the artists and Opportunity Works, Inc. in Newburyport. The program would not be possible without the support of our local funders, The Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, the Institution for Savings Charitable Foundation, and The Provident Bank Community Foundation.
Several successful exhibitions are held during the year in the surrounding areas , including at the Lowell’s Boat Shop in Amesbury, MA, at the NAA itself and at The Carry Out Cafe in Newburyport, MA.