The Salem News features an article about the Northeast Art and Montserrat College pairing students and people served by the Arc.
Will Merrill calls himself “a halfway decent drawer.”
An aspiring tattoo artist, Merrill, 40, was drawn to the Artists Together program at Montserrat College of Art because it was an opportunity to fine-tune his art skills.
But the class, a collaboration between Montserrat’s Studio for Experiential Learning and Northeast Arc, has taught Merrill more than artistic technique. It’s also shown him the importance of determination.
“You know, that is what you got to do in life. If you feel like the chips are down you got to build yourself back up,” the Salem resident said. “It’s kind of like this, when you are feeling down you got to pick yourself up and say ‘Let’s do it again.’”
Artists Together connects Montserrat students with artists at Northeast Arc, a nonprofit that provides services and support for people with disabilities. They collaborate on projects and practice skills they can use beyond the classroom. This is the second time the class has been offered.
“The most important thing that I believe is that art is inherently accessible. Everyone can come in with whatever they got and have fun making things together,” said Elise Snow, the coordinator for the Northeast Arc artists and a Montserrat alumna.
The class recently wrapped up, and the art the group created will be showcased Tuesday, May 8, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the ArcWorks Community Art Center in Peabody.
Stacy Thomas-Vickory, a Montserrat professor and alumna, called the program a chance for Montserrat students “to get outside of their own lives and connect with other people in the community and sort of practice what they preach — to try and meet new people and use art as that connection.”
Artists Together is part of Montserrat’s Studio for Experiential Learning (StudioXL), a program that focuses on preparing students for life after college by developing skills like communication, critical thinking, leadership and team building, said StudioXL Director François de Costerd.