About Arts Adventures

Participants in the Arts Adventures Program

To find out more about this community-based art and respite program for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ages 7 though 18, and their families living in the greater Albuquerque area, call or email Deborah Brink 505-345-2872; dbrink@vsartsnm.org

The Arts Adventures Autism Program is a unique community-based arts and respite program for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and their neural-typical peers.  The program was established in 2007, at the behest of the autism community - including the University of New Mexico's Center for Development and Disability, who approached VSA NM because there was a lack of community-based cultural activities for children with ASDs and a severe shortage of services available for their families. In response to this community need and with seed funding from the New Mexico Department of Health, Arts Adventures was established.

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Participants in the Arts Adventures Program

Arts Adventures takes place at the VSA/North Fourth Art Center in Albuquerque’s North Valley.  The program serves children and youth from the ages of 7 through 18.

Arts Adventures has two goals:

  • To provide an enriching learning experience for youth with ASDs that supports the development of social skills through the arts and creativity.
  • To offer families a period of respite and the opportunity to conduct household business and participate in community and leisure time activities that might otherwise prove difficult while caring for a child with autism.

The program uses a rich cross-disciplinary palette – visual arts, digital arts, theater, creative movement and field trips to cultural locations – to support the creative, social and intellectual growth of individuals with autism in an environment that supports their unique gifts and sensitivities.  Additionally, visual arts and working with various tools and materials, helps with the development of motor-planning, and fine-motor skills and addresses tactile defensiveness, a common issue among individuals with autism.  Movement activities, including dance, yoga and circus-inspired activities, support their unique gross motor, proprioceptive and vestibular needs. 

The core instructors in Arts Adventures are artists from various backgrounds and disciplines, experienced in working with youth with autism and other disabilities.  VSA NM ensures that all instructors have the necessary screenings and trainings to work with vulnerable populations.  VSA NM offers a safe and welcoming environment and strives to provide supports appropriate to each child. 

Finally, as well as a learning environment for children with autism, Arts Adventures is a field experience site for graduate and undergraduate university students from the University of New Mexico and other community volunteers wishing to gain direct, hands-on experience with children on the autism spectrum and developing arts-based skills to take with them into classrooms throughout and beyond New Mexico. 

Arts Adventures has received funding and other support from the New Mexico Department of Health, the Daniels Fund, the Albuquerque Community Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the UNM Center for Development and Disability, and the New Mexico Autism Society.

For more information about Arts Adventures please call or email:

Deborah Brink

Arts Adventures Director

505-345-2872 ext 18 dbrink@vsartsnm.org


featured at the N4th theater featured at N4th Art Center