Special Hands School of Arts serves those who need it most

Special Hands

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Andrea Whaley has been an art student of Andrea Remer for seven years.

“Before I would actually have to instruct all the little moves and the paints and what to use,” Remer said. “Now she has gotten independent enough she’ll say ‘No I’m the artist. I’ll make my own choices’ which is awesome.”

Whaley has favorite things she likes to paint.

“Flowers and flower pots,” Whaley said.

Her preference does not limit her. Her pictures of an autumn sky, Christmas tree and animals line the walls at the Special Hands School of Arts.

Whaley has autism, and is one of the first students of Lafayette’s Special Hands School of Arts, a studio teaching all aspects of the arts to people of all ages with all disabilities.

Remer and Lisa Halsema founded the school, which will open in August. Both have children with special needs.

“I’ve always been vocal and active in my son’s education, who is 20, to get art and music in school,” Halsema said. “That’s one of the ways he learns.”

The studio is housed in a wing of the First Baptist Church at Seventh and North streets in Downtown Lafayette. Remer and Halsema said they want to start out small and personal.

“We want it to be a very personal environment for them,” Remer said. “When we say adaptive, we are bringing each student in one at a time, interviewing the family, the student, whether they are a child or an adult, and seeing what their needs are.”

The studio will include art and music classes and individual and group sessions. Most of all, Halsema and Remer hope they can create an environment where the students can learn different techniques and emotions.

Special Hands School of Arts will have a ribbon cutting ceremony on Aug. 1 at 3 p.m. For more info on the studio, click here.

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