Vision and Goals of Unified Arts
Special Olympics Arizona is a social change organization that utilizes sports and Unified programs as a catalyst for social change. Our vision is to expand the opportunities for social change by increasing access to the arts, building new audiences, and showcasing the many talents of our Special Olympics Athletes and Unified Partners through Unified Arts. The goal of Unified Arts is to empower people of all ages, with and without intellectual disabilities, to develop their creative and artistic skills while forming lifelong friendships with their local community. Unified Arts with Special Olympics Arizona is different from every other free art program in the state as it is housed both within school and in communities and is open to all ages, all abilities, and all levels of art knowledge!
Benefits of Unified Arts in Schools & Communities
Participation in Unified Arts empowers people of all ages and skill levels, with and without intelletual disabilities, to gain a true inclusive arts experience by providing opportunities to:
- Promote social support in your community and experience positive interactions with peers
- Build confidence through creative expressions and eligible for statewide and national recognition for art projects
- Achieve excellence and recognition for acomplishments through inclusive art events
- Cultivate a greater understanding of onesself and of others
- Work collaboratively to build new friendships, improve self-esteem, and embrace positive changes in attitude, behavior, and performance.
Unified Arts in 2017-2018
Unified Arts was launched in 2017-2018 with initiatives under Unified Music, Unified Photography, Unified Gardening, and monthly Unified Art Contests. For more information, please continue reading below!
- Unified Music
- Unified Photography
- Unified Gardening
- Unified Art Contests
- Unified Art Contest Winners!
- Unified Art Project Ideas
- Future of Unified Arts
- Unified Arts Resources
Through Unified Music, you can get engaged in a few different ways starting with the launch of our Unified Music Ukulele Curriculum. Thanks to our partnership with Korg Education, Tanglewood Guitars, Guitars in the Classroom, and the Country Music Association (CMA), your school or community delegation can receive Unified Music Ukulele Kits whichincludes a ukulele, colored strings, electronic tuner, gig bag, and an adaptive Ukulele Curriculum that incorporates learning for people of all abilities and all ages. The Unified Music Ukulele Curriculum allows for an easy, turn-key approach that empowers people with all levels of music knowledge to learn how to play the uke! In the 2017-2018 school year, Special Olympics Arizona already has over 100 participants statewide who are loving to learn how to play the ukulele and are eager to start showing off their musical abilities! Check out this awesome video showcasing the Unified Music Ukulele Curriculum.
Unified Music expands beyond ukuleles into marching bands and orchestras! United Sound in partnership with Special Olympics Arizona promote inclusion through a school-based instrumental music club for individuals with and without intellectual or developmental disabilities. Dedicated to promoting social involvement through shared ensemble performance experiences, United Sound & Special Olympics Arizona joins students with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities to learn and perform in their school band or orchestra together! The program is run primarily by an individual school band or orchestra director and a school special education teacher with support from United Sound in the form of specialized training, financial support, and organizational resources. With assistance from peer mentors (Unified Partners), new musicians (Special Olympics Athletes) learn to play the instrument of their choice at a personally modified level. Learning first in lesson format and ultimately transitioning to rehearsals with recorded music, new musicians learn a piece of music that they will then perform live in concert, once per semester, with their peer mentor and a full instrumental support ensemble. Students who participate in the United Sound programs are learning to become musicians. Making music together is a powerful force for learning, growth, friendship, and understanding. Music is a language that transcends disability and the relationships formed in this way will truly resonate for all of those involved!
Have you ever wanted to be the one taking all the action shots on the court? Thanks to Unified Photography, now you can be the one behind the camera and have the ability to share your point of view with the world! Unified Photography provides an opportunity for schools and community delegations to participate in Unified Arts at no cost! Whether you want to join in on instructor-led classes, get your film and media students on campus involved in Unified Arts Contests, or take photos on the court/field during competitions as part of the Special Olympics Arizona Media Team "Shot Callers", your skills can be put to good use!
Through a partnership with Kanter Photography, classes will be held in Spring 2018 for you to gain education, knowledge, and hands-on experience with a camera and a photography professional, Josh Kanter. Each class has winning photographs selected (by you, of course) and these prints will be displayed at the first ever Special Olympics Arizona 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament in April 2018! You can stand by your artwork proudly and share your vision while raising funds for Special Olympics Arizona through a silent auction of your very own photographs! Speaking of the 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament, if you want to take action shots, think about how cool it can be to have a camera, media pass, and ability to get down on the court and take photos of players in action! As just another part of Unified Photography, you can now gain access to the Special Olympics Arizona Media Team called the "Shot Callers" and be able to capture special moments at area competitions, state competitions, and even have some special opportunities to snap photos at professional sporting events thanks to our incredible partners and local sports teams!
Did you know your school can be involved in Unified Photography? That's right! Rally your media team, film students, social media crew, and your Unified Club on campus to join in on Unified Photography this year by participating in our monthly Unified Arts Contests! Each month, schools and community delegations participate in Unified Art Contests and your photography crew can easily join in the fun and win awesome prizes! For more information, see Unified Arts Contests below!
We know many schools and community delegations are already involved in gardening programs, so why not give you more resources to support your awesome initiatives and programs to promote inclusion? Unified Gardening provides schools and community delegations the opportunity to get engaged and feel supported to learn more about gardening, how to grow healthy foods, and even have a chance to learn about recycling and healthy recipes that are easy to make!
Special Olympics Arizona is even offering a Unified Gardening Grant during the 2017-2018 school year! Does your school have a gardening program and would love Special Olympics Arizona to help support the growth of your program? Tell us in 200 words or less (and a photo or two) what you are doing with your garden on campus and how it promotes inclusion and unity, and you just might win some seed money to help your garden grow for another year! All submissions are due by December 21st, 2017 and must be emailed to Brittany Meola (Brittany@SpecialOlympicsArizona.org) by the end of the day for your entry to be considered. A member of our SOAZ team will follow up with winning schools and send you a check to help grow your garden! For more information on the Unified Gardening Grant, click here!
This spring, we also challenge you to grow the biggest carrot you can possibly grow! Bring your carrots, and any other items from your garden that you would like to display, to your Area Track & Field competition (dates provided under our events tab at http://www.specialolympicsarizona.org/events). Winners will receive a special prize to help your garden program grow for years to come! We will announce multiple winners at the end of the competition and winners will be selected based on the length of the carrot, color of the carrot, width of the carrot, funniest shape of the carrot, and the best overall presentation of your garden!
Unified Arts Contests
Each month, your Unified Club, school, or community delegation have a chance to participate in our Unified Arts Contests! Each contest is unique and provides new prizes and incentives for you and your group to get involved! Start by expressing your interest in these contests by completing the Unified Arts Survey (registration form) so we can learn more about how you would like to get involved. Once you have completed that, you will begin receiving emails from us at UnifiedClubs@SpecialOlympicsArizona.org at the beginning of the month letting you know who won last month's contest and how you can compete in the next month's contest, not to mention the awesome prizes everyone is winning! Winners have had their artwork displayed on our website, blasted on social media, shared to thousands of recipients of the Special Olympics Arizona newsletter, and even have won some awesome awards like $50 gift certificates and art kits, so get involved now before it's too late!
To plan for each contest, see below:
- September 2017 - #PlayUnified Artwork - Your opportunity to create any type of art project your group would like and stick around the theme of #PlayUnified (the campaign for Special Olympics Arizona) or #ChooseToInclude (the theme of the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics!)
- October 2017 - #InclusiveHealth - Health is important to our Special Olympics Athletes & Unified Partners so create a piece of inclusive artwork that displays why #InclusiveHealth matters for Special Olympics Athletes & Unified Partners to compete at the best of their ability. We just might display this artwork at Healthy Athletes screening for thousands to see!!
- November 2017 - Share the Impact! Email us (UnifiedClubs@SpecialOlympicsArizona.org) your best story in 500 words or less (with a photo or video) that shows the impact Unified has on your school!
- December 2017 - Hoopfest Artwork - Create a design that can be copied onto a basketball hoop backboard for the first ever annual SOAZ 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament! The winning design will be recreated onto a basketball hoop backboard and your school can be recognized on site for the awesome Unified design you created! For more information on the Unified Arts 3on3 Basketball Tournament Backboard Contest, click here!
- January 2018 - Unified Arts Summer Games Pin Challenge - Create the design for the first ever Unified Arts pin that everyone can collect and trade at Summer Games!
- February 2018 - R-Word Challenge - Help us Spread the Word to End the Word by creating a video to raise awareness for inclusion! You can use any of the cool items from the R-Word kits, like the R-Word stickers, to get your whole school involved in making this great pledge!
- March 2018 - Funds for Arts! Create a school-based FUNdraiser that your Unified Club can host to raise awareness and funds for your Unified Arts initiatives on campus! Get creative with this because maybe you could paint the principal on lunch after receiving a donation for Unified Arts!
- April 2018 - Create a 1-3 minute Public Service Announcement (PSA) to promote the need for arts education opportunities in schools for you with and without intellectual disabilities. Share it on your school's website and social media (don't forget to share it with us at UnifiedClubs@SpecialOlympicsArizona.org!)
- May 2018 - Celebrate the end of the year by holding an awesome Unified Dance Marathon and dancing the stress about finals and graduation away! Students can fundraise for each hour they dance and celebrate Unified together and all the money raised can go back to your Unified programs on campus for the next school year! Talk about an awesome way to bring everyone together one last time before summer begins!
Unified Arts Contest Winners
We are excited to announce Trevor Browne High School as the winner of our February Art Contest!
Stephanie Nelson, who works at Trevor Browne High School, shared more on their Unified Arts Project this month and stated, "I looked at this wall across from our school and thought it would be such a cool way to raise awareness for inclusion and ridding the R-Word not only for our campus, but for all of those who drive by every single day!" Trevor Browne revealed their freshly painted artwork during a Unified pep assembly welcoming Soeren Palumbo (started the Spread the Word to End the Word Campaign 10 years ago) and Lauren Potter (known for her spot on Glee and being a Global Ambassador for Inclusion). Clearly, Unified means a lot to Trevor Browne High School and we are so excited at Special Olympics Arizona to see our Unified Champion Schools finding new and innovative ways to make their campuses inclusive!
Trevor Browne will be included in our quarterly newsletter as the Unified Arts winner for February and also had their photos shared on our Instagram and Facebook! Congratulations, Trevor Browne High School!
Unified Arts Project Ideas
- Create a mural on your campus to raise awareness for inclusion and promote Unified for years to come! (*Must get appropriate authorization prior!)
- Create your own version of the Flame of Hope for the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Arizona and run it into your school's next pep assembly! Engage your School Resource Officers (SROs) on your campus and engage your entire school at a pep rally! We bet if you asked, we could even get LETR to bring our Flame of Hope to your campus - just ask!
- Work with your school's media team/class to create an inclusive video sharing why Unified Arts, Unified Champion Schools, and/or Unified Sports is important to you and how it has positively changed your school's culture! Make a social media campaign to go along with your video and Special Olympics Arizona can share it on our social media, too!
- Make a Unified Artwork using only recyclable materials found on campus
- Have your students/peers design a postcard and write to your local representatives about the importance of art education and inclusion on campus!
- Take over the snack bar during game day to FUNdraiser for your Unified Club & Unified Arts projects!
- Have a Unified Hat Day and let students purchase #PlayUnified stickers (you received 500 free stickers in your Unified Club Kit this year) and be able to wear hats on campus all day!
- Paint the Principal - WHY NOT? During lunch, have everyone gather in the courtyard as you raise funds for inclusion! Students can donate $5 to paint a colorful stripe in your principal's hair with temporary hair color spray! Step it up a notch by having the principal stand in front of a large canvas and see how many people will donate $10 to throw a sponge with non-permanent paint at the principal! They'll look colorful for inclusion and you will make a Unified Arts piece during the process (in case anyone misses this awesome day)!
- Create a Unified Dance Marathon as part of the May 2018 Unified Arts Contest!
The Future of Unified Arts
We know that arts is an all-encompassing program and we are excited to watch it grow. In years to come, expect to see Unified Arts grow into dance, theatre, cooking, filmography, ceramics, and more! If you have an idea for the next Unified Arts program, please let us know!