It all started in 1985, when Marcia Berger, a Tucson pediatric physical therapist, started an after school program called Third St. Kids. The idea was simple: Bring the performing arts into the lives of children with and without disabilities.
The following year Steven L. Sles, founder of Arts for All, Inc., gave the non-profit to Marcia. In the 30 years since that humble beginning, the organization has dedicated itself to providing quality arts education and experiences for children with and without disabilities and adults with disabilities. It’s done through innovative programs like the Adult Day Program, Out-of-School Time, and Winter and Summer Arts Camps which merge the arts and human services.
While other non-profits have shied away from serving this population with special needs, Arts for All has remained steadfast in serving those with the greatest need. They include persons with physical disabilities, visual limitations, hearing impairments, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, mental illness, behavior problems, autism, and seizure disorders.
Not an easy road to travel year and year out, but Marcia and her team have maintained a steady focus on providing the valuable arts experiences that would not happen otherwise. The hard work and dedication has paid off. Thousands of Individual lives have been enhanced, countless families have become healthier and stronger, and Tucson community has benefited at a result.
Over the years, the community and professionals in the field have noticed, and accolades and awards have followed. In 2008 Arts for All received the prestigious Governor’s Art Award for community organization. In 2006, it received the Tucson Pima Arts Council award for Arts Education Organization.
In 2003, Arts for All received the Producing Theatre Company award from the Arizona Theatre Alliance, was chosen as beneficiary by Angel Charity for Children, and selected as an AmeriCorps site. In August 2000, the Ensemble Company performed at the Fifth International Abilympics in Prague, Czech Republic.
Just a partial list of accomplishments and awards by a remarkable arts organization celebrating more than 30 years of service to the Tucson, Arizona community.
Generous support provided by the following organizations.
Arizona Commission on the Arts
Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, James R. and Elizabeth C. Guy Fund
Tucson Pima Arts Council