About Arts for All
To provide accessible education, training, and experiences in the arts to children, particularly those with special needs.
History of Arts for All, Inc.
Arts for All, a non-profit corporation, began in 1979 by Steven L. Sles. In August of 1985, Third St. Kids was founded by Marcia Berger, an innovative pediatric physical therapist, to provide an after-school program in the performing arts for children with and without disabilities. In 1986, the non-profit corporation was turned over to Marcia Berger by its founder; and thus, Arts for All and Third St. Kids became one. The students, ages two through adulthood, come from throughout the greater Tucson, Arizona area. All aspects of the program exemplify integration for children with and without disabilities. Arts for All currently provides special considerations during the planning and programming for persons with physical disabilities, visual limitations, hearing impairments, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, emotional disturbances, mental illness, behavior problems, autism, and seizure disorders. All programs attempt to provide a quality art focus for children and youth with and without disabilities and adults with disabilities.
Arts for All currently has four programs which merge the arts with human services: preschool, daily out-of--school time classes, Summer/Winter Arts Camps and a day program for adults with disabilities. Support services such as transportation, personal care and respite care provided by direct support professionals and AmeriCorps members allow children and adults with disabilities to enjoy and learn from the arts.
In 1988, Arts for All received the Meyer Marmis Humanitarian Award from the Southern Arizona Jewish Foundation. In 1989, Arts for All was chosen to represent Arizona at the first International Very Special Arts Festival in Washington, D.C. Eight students presented a workshop on integrated programming through theatre games. The student delegates received copper letters from Tucson's Mayor Volgy. Another honor in 1989 was presenting a performance at the joint national conference of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education/Association for Theatre and Disability in New York City. Again in 1994, this Conference invited Arts for All to perform "Reckless Grace" in Tempe, Arizona.
In 1991, sponsored by Very Special Arts Arizona, three members of the Ensemble Company presented a multi-disciplinary performance in Hong Kong for the Third International Abilympics. In Sept. 1995, nine members of the company went to Perth, Australia where they performed a multi-disciplinary performance at the Fourth International Abilympics. In August 2000, the Ensemble Company performed a multi-disciplinary performance at the Fifth International Abilympics in Prague, Czech Republic. The Ensemble Company has performed and directed workshops throughout this country and in Hermosillo, Navajoa, and Ciudad Obregon, Mexico since 1994.
In 2008 Arts for All received the prestigious Governor’s Art Award for community organization. In 2003, Arts for All received the Producing Theatre Company award from the Arizona Theatre Alliance. Third St. Ensemble Company received the VSAarts/Metlife Foundation Award for Arts Access at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Two other exciting events in 2003 were the announcement by Angel Charity for Children, Inc. of Arts for All being their beneficiary and Arts for All being chosen as an AmeriCorps site. In 2006, Arts for All received the Tucson Pima Arts award for Arts Education Organization. Marcia Berger has received the Spirit of Arizona Award (1988) from the Arizona State Senate, District Service to Mankind Award (1989) from Sertoma International, the Jefferson Award from the American Institute for Public Service (1990), recognition from the Mayor's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (1991), the JC Penny Golden Rule Award (1992), the Diane Lynne Anderson Award (1998), recognition from Az. Center for Disability Law (2000), and YWCA’s Women on the Move Award (2000). Frank Hernandez, Assistant Director, was President of Children’s Music Network and was appointed by Governor Napolitano to the Board of Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind. Frank also has received a President’s Citation for Volunteerism (1997), served on the President’s Committee on Employment for People with Disabilities (1998), and was program chair for the National Council on Disabilities’ Youth Leadership Program (1999). He also was chosen by the U.S. Department of Health to present in Mexico City at a conference in 2002.