Montclair Art Museum (Montclair, NJ)

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<p>A young man sits at a table, deep in concentration, drawing </p>

A student participating in the Montclair Art Museum's Project ReachOut, a visual arts outreach program for adults with special needs. Photo by Eleanor M. Schlosser

The Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey is internationally known for its American and Native American art collections, providing exhibitions and educational programs that explore the two evolving artistic traditions. The museum serves more than 60,000 visitors annually, and has various educational programs to reach the public and special needs audiences, including lectures, studio art classes, guided gallery tours, and family days.

In FY 2004, the Montclair Art Museum received an NEA Challenge America grant of $15,000 to support Project Reach Out, an off-site educational program designed that reaches more than 5,000 disabled adults with sustained visual arts lessons and hands-on art activities. The project, celebrating its 10th anniversary, provides these services free of charge to local organizations that do not have the expertise or financial resources to develop visual arts programming of their own. The participants of the program are developmentally and neurologically impaired adults that live with severe physical limitations.

Project Reach Out is offered at the North West Essex Community Healthcare Network in Montclair and the First Cerebral Palsy Center of Essex in Bellville to participants who would find it difficult to visit the museum. Art projects are designed by an experienced artist and art educator to accommodate a wide range of physical disabilities. Participants learn to express themselves in a variety of two- and three-dimensional artistic modes from drawing with pencil and charcoal to painting with acrylic on canvas to woodwork and crafts.