Artistic Intelligence Program Member
It’s Saturday afternoon, and CSMA’s ceramics arts instructor is prepping students for their first experience with throwing clay on the wheel. One of the students, Jordan L., is particularly excited to explore this new artistic outlet after his experience with other art classes at CSMA.
Jordan, age 19, participates in “Artistic Intelligence,” a partnership program for special needs students sponsored by CSMA, PACE (Pacific Autism Center for Education) AchieveKids and the Morgan Autism Center where Jordan is enrolled. This program provides an opportunity for disabled and special needs students to explore their creativity, gain new experiences in the larger community, and become integrated in CSMA’s general course curricula whenever possible.
So far, drawing has been Jordan’s main passion. “I am very famous for my shading with pastels,” he volunteered. “A lot of people look at my pictures and say ‘wow.’” Jordan’s teacher describes him as an ideal student because he’s not afraid to ask questions and knows intuitively that, with art, there is no right or wrong. “I wish there were more students like Jordan in my class.”
Jordan clearly loves being at CSMA. “I like being at a place with real professional artists. I feel at home here, and I learn a lot!” The Morgan Autism Center’s staff and his family can both see the benefits that an arts experience have created for Jordan. “Coming to CSMA has provided Jordan with a creative and therapeutic outlet to express how he feels,” says his mother, Stephanie. “He draws every day at home and loves giving his art to others as gifts.”
With ceramics, Jordan is experiencing the intellectual as well as tactile experience of working with clay and articulately explains that firing clay in the kiln involves science as well as art. When asked how creating art makes him feel, Jordan thinks for a moment and sums it up in one word, “calm.”
And then he very carefully applies the gas to the potter’s wheel. “Working on the potter’s wheel is kind of like driving. You have to go easy on the gas.”