New Program Invites All Ages to Let Your Imagination Soar
Arts for All, Inc., is a new, non-profit organization designed to provide high quality programming, instruction, and inspiration to families, schools, and individuals in the community at low or no cost. Long-time Carrollton artist and teacher Gerald Byrd describes the program, “Using creativity, input from our guests, attention to detail,and quality materials, we strive to encourage and develop the study and execution of fine arts with the highest professional standards. We address, educate, coordinate, and provide opportunities in the areas of visual and performing arts on a local level.”
“Our programs include the involvement of ambassadors both to raise awareness of the arts and to host fundraising events in order to provide immediate assistance to those who cannot afford tuition to our camps, workshops, and events. Participants who cannot afford the activities will be screened by our volunteers to qualify for free or reduced services.” Information provided in the screening will remain confidential.
Arts for All, Inc. serves the entire West Georgia Community. For more than a year their Pop-up Art Program has conducted “flash mob” style art workshops in city parks, schools, community centers, public housing developments, and libraries. Participants have enjoyed an array of free activities from expressive dance at the Lion’s Safari Park to mask making at the public library. The programs are averaging sixty participants per event. The Pop-Up Program does not publish a schedule because its intent is to surprise and delight the public with free art activities.
The Institute of the Imagination Located at 119 Bradley Street in downtown Carrollton, The Institute of the Imagination is the official headquarters of Arts for All, Inc. where a host of volunteer artists teach special community workshops and classes. Local sponsors provide scholarships for families in need. Proceeds from the workshops are being used to fund the free programming that the organization does in the community and also to purchase furnishings for the institute, pay overhead expenses, and build supply inventories. Longer-ranged, the organization hopes funds from the workshops will also pay visiting artists and hire a full-time staff. The workshops range in cost from $5-$10 per child to $25 for adults.
Gerald Byrd, the man behind the idea of the program, explains, “At the Institute of the Imagination we give the general public the opportunity to interact with a professional artist in his studio. The windows feature highly detailed set pieces with genuine antiques and original characters from our artists and volunteers.” A giant giraffe named “Stretch” graces the center window and is a spoof of Napoleon Crossing the Alps. Whimsical clouds and confetti made from recycled floppy discs dance above Stretch’s head. In another window devices ranging from early televisions to digital cameras showcase the evolution of technology. The windows will change periodically with different themes that relate to the classes being offered within. “Enter our ‘Maker Space’ and the first thing you’ll notice besides our candy striped walls will be the smell of freshly-popped popcorn and cotton candy,” Byrd commented enthusiastically. “Our flat panel television looks like a larger than life Etch-A-Sketch! Our vintage chalkboards allow our guests to engineer thoughts into ideas!”
The “Maker Space” also features large craft tables, giant paint brushes, original art, vintage marquee letters, paint bucket lights, and a counter that looks like a giant watercolor set. In the “Fun Lab,” explorers will discover a doodle bar, which is covered in dry-erase material and encourages everyone to scribble. “Here,” the man spearheading the project explains, “you can order up a hissing cockroach or a real toad. You can sit and admire our 15-foot tall space monster and our ray gun collection from a galaxy far, far away!” A giant spaceship hovers over the room as a curious astronaut takes flight into the unknown….all 3-D and life-sized! The “Fun Lab” also features a Lego table, a forest floor sensory station, a Dino dig table, a collage station with “junk” that attaches to magnetic panels, brainy games, special lighting, and more.Byrd invites, “Take center stage on our theatrical stage. It’s ornately trimmed in gold, has red velvet curtains, and features a dress up area so guests can role-play and live out their Broadway and Hollywood dreams!”
Amazing Parties and Mentoring The Institute of the Imagination will also offer “amazing science- and art-themed birthday parties and special events, as well as special activities during Amp movie nights. We offer fun grownup painting parties every second and third Saturday night, a wildly creative summer camp for grades Pre-k-12th, and a special mentor program.” In the mentor program at-risk youth will work with a professional artist to develop their skills, thinking abilities, and problem-solving techniques. It will be a program designed to help these young people stay positively involved. Future offerings at the Institute of Imagination will include sewing classes, cake decorating, animation, cartooning, photography, acting, and dance. As one supporter of the program quips, “The choices are limited only by our imaginations!”
Arts for All, Inc. is funded solely from private donations and does not receive any federal or local funding. The Arts for All, Inc. Board of Directors is pursuing grant opportunities and happily accepts both gifts in-kind (games and art supplies) as well as monetary donations.
The Institute of the Imagination will open for a special Toy Story 3 Preview Party before the AMP plays the movie on May 21 from 6:00-9:00PM. Admission to the Preview Party is $5 and guests will make a Toy Story craft, meet a character from the movie, play games, and receive free cotton candy or popcorn. All proceeds benefit Arts for All, Inc. A little more than a week after the Preview Party the weekly summer camps will open and run from June 1 through July 26. To volunteer or for more information, contact Gerald Byrd, AFA Director, at (706) 810-0ART.
Arts for All, Inc.
Contact: Gerald Byrd (770) 598-4441