Neighborhood Center of the Arts:
where the hands of the artist set the spirit free

NCAThe Neighborhood Center of the Arts is a daily art and living skills program for adults with developmental disabilities located at 200 Litton Drive, Suite 212, in Grass Valley, CA in Nevada County, just 45-minutes northwest of Sacramento in the historic Gold Country of the Sierra Foothills. NCA operates as a 501 (c) 3 private non-profit with an active and involved Board of Directors. Our website is exciting and provides a look at our artists work - some of which is for sale.

Who are the developmentally disabled? People with severe or chronic impairments as a result of a physical or mental disability that began prior to age 22. Developmental disabilities may include: mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, Down's Syndrome, autism or other characteristics that limit daily living activities. There are approximately 3.9 million developmentally disabled people in the U.S.

The mission of most art centers for people with disabilities is to provide an art program that promotes creativity, independence, dignity and community integration. To carry out this mission, goals have been articulated for individual participants, and for the organization as a whole:

  1. Artistic development - The center provides opportunities for individual growth. As the artist with disabilities works, he or she changes and progresses. Each stage has its own characteristics and excitement. There is no limit to what level of expressive accomplishment a person can achieve.

  2. Creation of work of high artistic merit - Each person no matter how limited intellectually, emotionally or physically, is capable of artistic achievement at some level.

  3. Integration of the personality through creative arts - The act of creating serves as a catalyst in mobilizing strengths in the person to form a total production personality. Artists with disabilities learn to focus on their creative work.

  4. Enhancement of self-esteem - Through their ability to express themselves, artists with disabilities develop a positive self-image. Recognition of their artistic efforts by others who see their work displayed in the gallery and other venues gives them feelings of worth that carry over into other aspects of daily life.

  5. Strengthening of ability to make decisions for oneself - Making decisions about creating a work of art is encouraged and respected. The artist with disabilities must constantly make artistic choices as to subject matter, design, techniques.

  6. Expression of inner feelings and moods - Artists with disabilities may express their inner conflicts, dreams, fantasies. This act may help the artist understand and deal with these feelings.

  7. Improvement of communication skills and coordination - Each person is encouraged to express his feelings in verbal communications. Eye-hand coordination is improved through constant practice in painting, ceramics, print making, and other art media.

NCA’s 59 artists (ranging in age between 19 and 67; 2/3 women, 1/3 men) work year-round at their fine art and crafts and are well known for their weavings, ceramics, paintings, jewelry, woodworking, computer arts and specialty art items. NCA is especially pleased with the idea that the client's artwork reaches the vast community of Northern California in private collections and as gifts. Our clients take great pride in their work and in knowing others will enjoy it.

NCA’s goal of community recognition, integration, and acceptance of its clients is met in the most positive of ways through their three annual art shows. 60% of the net price of each item goes directly back to the artist. The remaining 40% helps to recover the cost of materials. NCA's Community Program teaches the necessary life skills most of us take for granted. With the community as classroom, clients learn to use public transportation, order food in a restaurant, check out a book at the library, plant a garden, and cook a meal.

Find this at the NCANCA programs attempt to serve the whole person by incorporating paid work, education, training, independent living, and the creative arts in a total synthesis.

The Neighborhood Center of the Arts is funded through Alta California Regional Center, United Way, grants, a growing membership, and community support. It has also received grants from the California Arts Council until recently, when the CAC's budget was drastically cut. Because of California's current budget crisis, NCA fears cuts to its funding will become a reality mid-2003. Additional fund raising activities are being planned, including the second year of income from a benefit concert, The Bella Nota at Indian Springs Vineyards on July 19th. This benefit concert is in it's 10th year and is growing - NCA is very pleased to be the recipient of the ticket, wine, auction sales again in 2003. This kind of local support (with guests coming from throughout California) is the financial support NCA needs to keep its programs running. NCA's logo incorporates a graphic and slogan communicating what takes place at the Center: "Where the hands of the artist set the spirit free." It is a fitting description of what has been happening at NCA since it opened in 1984, thanks to the vision of Gillian Hodge a local artist. Our artists come to NCA for the opportunity to lead full and rewarding lives, because it is a place where they can make friends, explore their abilities, and gain a sense of accomplishment. Donations of financial support, art materials, computers, furniture, etc., are gratefully accepted.

Please Visit & Support The Neighborhood Center of the Arts

For more information, contact Ellen Persa
Executive Director
530-272-7287, 8AM-4PM Mon-Fri

SPECIAL THANKS goes out to Christina McMaster for bringing this great project to our attention, Thanks Christina!


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