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Nonprofit arts organization offers special needs adults various online classes

KRON4 Heroes

Alchemia Staff Team

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KRON) — A nonprofit arts organization is providing special needs adults in Sonoma and Marin counties with various online zoom classes such as acting, dance and yoga among others.

Alchemia is offering over 120 different classes ranging from choir, acting, musical theater sing-along, expressive arts, poetry and numerous drawing classes for their participants.

The nonprofit was able to quickly assemble an online curriculum to continue to serve their artists under the mandatory shelter-in-place orders.

“Alchemia is a lifeline for the artists we serve. We wanted to be able to give them a way to continue to engage with our team and one another,” Alchemia program director Elizabeth Clary said.

“It’s been incredibly beautiful … I am so proud to be an instructor,” Caroline Lomba said.

The nonprofit connects professional art mentors with artists who identify as having intellectual or developmental disabilities including autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome and other related conditions.

Based in Santa Rosa the nonprofit supports visual, performing and creative arts programs in Sonoma and Main counties. They also operate a studio theater in Santa Rosa with downtown galleries in Petaluma and Novato.

Before the coronavirus pandemic the nonprofit operated separately through their different locations, but have no brought participants together online.

Currently, Alchemia is serving 90 participants each week hosting classes from 8 am to 4 p.m. The nonprofit has been able to provide 6 to 8 hours per day totaling 120 hours per week of online classes and discussion groups.

“The artists we support are central to everything we do … we aren’t working if we aren’t supporting their artistic growth,” Clary said.

Clary tells KRON4 despite having to complete switch the nonprofits operation online they have been see the silver lining and have discovered some benefits amid such unprecedented times.

“We always look for the silver lining, and there have been many unexpected “wins” that have resulted from expanding our parameters of possibility,” Clary said.

“Among them, we’ve discovered some of the benefits of technology and look forward to using our newfound powers to transform what we are able to do under normal circumstances.”

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