Triple Blessings…and more!

Dec 27, 2019

When Erich and I set out to plan goals for the charity this year we didn’t realize that the “blessing” would be so amazing and so powerful that the organization would really triple and grow to the next level. I must say, as your Executive Director, I am honored and thrilled to share with you so many dreams that came true this year and so many miracles that happened. We truly did provide students and Veterans the opportunity for creative expression that transformed their lives by igniting a passion in life!

When we started creative expression classes almost 10 years ago we could not know it would grow into the innovative fine art program called “Artists Come Alive,” where students discover art styles through the lives of famous artists as they express themselves in a professional art studio environment at the old library in South Huntington. We are so blessed to be working with so many amazing partners such as:

South Huntington Union Free School District and Heckscher Museum of Art • Life’s Worc • ISS-Independent Support Services • Adler Center for Special Needs at Mid-Island YJCC • Lodestar Children Services • Huntington YMCA • Northport VA Medical Center • Harborfields Public Library • Congregational Church of Huntington • Tri-Community and Youth Agency • St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church • United Veterans Beacon House • Pal-O-Mine Equestrian • Halo Network of Services • Independent Group Home Living

The blessings kept coming and we started ArtWORKS because as unemployment is at 85% for young adults with special needs, we wanted to help educate those who have aged out of District and move them into digital art and graphic design. As featured on News12, we are NOW the hub for creative expression in both fine and digital art and offer hands-on training into today’s digital sphere with real world, not-for-profit clients coming to us for logos, websites and social media opportunities to tell their unique stories. ArtWORKS is a program that provides technical training to prepare students for careers in digital art with structured classes that give them the tools needed to be successful in a job after high school with our post-secondary education plan. And with experiential learning on amazing accounts like;

Cerebral Palsy Association • South Huntington School District • Northport VA Medical Center • St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church • Great South Bay Audubon Society • Mother Teresa Children’s Home • CEED- Center for Environmental Education and Discovery • Ella Ella Francinella Children’s Books • Aishling Forest School • All Boro Construction • Living Waters Therapeutic Catholic Counseling

But it did not end there. We grew art sales/shows and events with some of the most amazing programs we have ever presented.

Summer Camp tripled with the addition of Comic Book Camp classes, Game Design and our famous Artists Come Alive Camp that gave us the opportunity to work with over 55 amazing students!

Then we rolled into our Spirit of Art Auction that became a huge blessing with our partnership with CP of Nassau, rolling out over a million dollars in amazing art with some appearing in Christie’s Art Auction in August.

Add in ArtABILITY – Long Island’s Largest Special Needs Art Show that exhibited art from over a dozen amazing non-profit organizations produced with so many Special Ability students highlighting all this incredible art! Over 250 people joined us for this incredible event which was made possible by a grant from the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning.

Finally, our blessings continued with a grant from Autism Speaks that was simply magical, as they became our National Partner for exhibitions and computers to help our students! In fact, they chose three of our students’ artwork for their national Holiday Card!

How do I begin to say thank you to Erich Preis and his dream as the founder, our amazing Board that doubled this year, my Associate Director and partner in running this, Diane Young, and the ten employees and twelve volunteers that make this blessed operation run every day!

But the dream is just beginning as we keep working on our dream, and we continue to need your help! We need four more computer workstations, desks, art supplies, and more teachers to continue our work with over 150 students a week that come through our doors for classes, inspiration, and encouragement in expressing their creativity.

Please join us in making our dream real with your donation to our 501(c)(3) charity and keep us in business making a difference in the lives of our community! We wish you a Happy New Year, and may 2020 bring you abundant blessings as well!

Michael Kitakis
Spirit of Huntington Art Center

2 Melville Road North

Huntington Station, NY 11746

EIN#: 46-3038008

Proud grant recipient of Autism Speaks
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