LNLC gets creative at Art from the Heart

PELHAM – Students with special needs at the Linda Nolen Learning Center had the opportunity to show off their creativity in several different ways during the Art from the Heart festival from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, Oct. 13.

According to Art from the Heart director Andrea Ledlow, students made art at eight stations that included, canvas art, painting rocks, painting sunflowers, stained glass art, string art and more.

“It gets the kids to be creative and collaborate together,” Ledlow said.

The festival concluded with a cookout and live music.

Art committee member Kim Falkner said this is the eighth consecutive year that LNLC has held Art from the Heart.

“Art from the Heart was started as a way for our students to express themselves. They’re not limited to what they can do,” Falkner said. “Everything is very hands-on and accessible.”

Teacher Laura Wright said the art festival focused on inclusivity and gave every student a chance to participate in some way.

“They coordinate everything to where, no matter what the child’s disability, the kid can do something,” Wright said. “They try to make it as independent as possible.”

Kindergartener Tripp Nichols’s mother, Jessica, said her son was looking forward to the live entertainment at the end.

“He loves the music,” Jessica Nichols said. “Anything having to do with music is his favorite.”

Falkner said the event also allowed students and family members from different grades and units the chance to meet one another and make new friends.

“It brings awareness for the community,” Falkner said. “The parents get to see their kids getting to do what the other kids are doing. These are life experiences that they may not have had if they hadn’t gone to school at Linda Nolen.”

Tripp’s father, Nick Nichols, said the festival also served to strengthen relationships between parents and teachers.

“It’s important for parents to interact with the teachers, especially with a child that can’t just come home and tell you what’s going on,” Nick Nichols said.

For LNLC students, Falkner said Art from the Heart is one of several special events the school hosts each year.

“Some of these kids don’t make it to high school, so we make it so this year is their prom year or their year to do an art festival,” Falkner said. “We’re blessed to be a school that puts the needs of our students first and allows us to have events like this.”