Participants create and share art

By Ben Caine

New Vista is launching into 2017 with a new outlet for creativity in the Las Vegas Valley with its Arts & Cultural Development Program. This is keeping with its mission to “provide the intellectually challenged of all ages with equal opportunities and support so they may experience life to the fullest.”

New Vista has held its first two arts and cultural development programs to broaden the horizons of youth and adults with intellectual disabilities. This project is intended to bring the social, emotional and therapeutic benefits of art and artistic activities to their youth and adults who live in one of 22 residential homes. By partnering with Busy Bee Art Studio, owned by Eliane Baselwich, New Vista is able to provide its members (clients) with the tools to explore their own creative potential and possible employment opportunities through self-expression. This program provides people with disabilities, perhaps for the first time, an in-depth opportunity to make art and exhibit their work in the community.

New Vista was founded with an overall goal to empower people through a better quality of life. Its skilled staff works to improve each individual’s ability to be independent and to build self-esteem through obtaining their goals. On an annual basis in Clark County, over 500 youth and adults diagnosed with an intellectual disability are served. New Vista addresses its mission by providing a comprehensive array of interrelated programs and support services intended to encourage appropriate physical, social and emotional development, as well foster as much independence and self-sufficiency as possible for each of the youth and adults in its care.

The new art program allows every participating individual the potential to flourish through the creative process. Participating in the arts gives individuals a sense of purpose, self-empowerment and community. There are also exhibitions of artwork planned for the future, which will provide opportunities for their members to share their accomplishments with others, thereby creating self-esteem and pride in achievements. Art exhibits will foster awareness in the broader community and promote involvement and inclusion.

Recent research has also shown that young people participating in artistic programs make significant gains in artistic and social skills, and display a significant reduction in emotional problems. New Vista sees this important community arts program as a way to promote positive youth development. Art is a conduit to experiencing life-long learning in ways that are creative and encourage problem finding and solving. Art also provides opportunities to observe, participate in and strengthen aesthetic awareness and critical thinking.

Although society has grown in its overall understanding of people with intellectual disabilities, there is still a critical need to see intellectually disabled persons as whole persons able to achieve and able to participate in community. A long-range goal is to develop a gallery where our members can display their artistic endeavors and share their work with the local community. Such activities will only serve to foster the concept of inclusion that is so important to reducing the isolation that has been common with disabled persons.

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Contact Ben Caine 702.457.4677 ext. 146.