The Tucson Jewish Community Center has announced that as of Apr. 1, Arts for All, Inc. has joined the organization under the umbrella of its Disability Program Services department.
For 36 years, under the outstanding leadership of Executive Director Marcia Berger, Arts for All, Inc. has been serving the Tucson disability community with innovative programs that combine the arts and human services, helping both children and adults with disabilities build confidence, gain meaningful relationships and develop performing and visual arts skills through specialized offerings including an Adult Day Program, Out-of-School Time, Summer Arts Camp, Laser Art Technique Program and the Arts for All, Inc. Dance Company.
“We are very appreciative of all the professionals who oversaw and implemented this integration, including Marcia Berger, Todd Rockoff and consultant Anne Maley. There was a substantial process to make sure the two organizations were the best fit for each other and on the eve of integration, the pandemic struck and the professionals continued their hard work and communication to make sure both organizations were stronger two years later when the integration was consummated,” said Isaac Rothschild, who sits on the board at both Arts for All and is the immediate past chair of the Tucson J’s board.
As one of a handful of JCC’s with a day program for people with disabilities, the Tucson J is a pioneer in this work, and with the merger will become the largest provider of day programs for people with disabilities in Southern Arizona.
The integration will allow both organizations to leverage their strengths, bolstering their individual, and now collective pledge to provide the highest quality programs and services in a safe and secure environment for all people of all ages.
“Arts are the key to reaching people,” said Marcia Berger, “I’ve never met a person that some form of arts didn’t touch, whether it’s music or drama or art or ceramics. When I started Arts for All, I didn’t anticipate what it would be today. I was happy teaching dance in my living room, but the parents and community kept asking for more. It was snowballing, and by the time Frank joined the organization about 10 years in, we were adding music and theater and more. We knew what we had was unique and special – a true gem of Tucson. What this integration with the J will bring is true sustainability and the opportunity to enhance the program and serve more people. I’m excited that Arts for All will continue with an organization that has such national strength behind it. The way I see it, the J is the crown on the gem.”
The two organizations are a natural fit for one another – both focused on inclusion and accessibility, and together offering more robust programming, support, and opportunities for the Southern Arizona disability community.
Todd Rockoff, president and CEO of the Tucson J says, “The J is proud to have Arts for All as a key part of the programming at the J. The J has a deep commitment to working with people with disabilities and a long history of strong programming in Arts and Culture. Arts for All is truly a perfect fit, as we continue to make the J a space and place for all people of all ages.”
Arts for All, Inc. programs will remain at the current facility on Oracle Rd. and will continue under the direct leadership of Frank Hernandez as the Director of Arts for All. Marcia Berger is joining the J’s team under a new role.
“As the Program Director for Arts for All, I am looking forward to joining the vibrant community at the J. Arts for All and the J have over 95 years of service to our community. Becoming a program of the J brings our message of inclusion and access to a new audience,” said Frank Hernandez.
“On behalf of the board, we are thrilled to welcome the award-winning Arts for All program into the JCC family of programs to help better serve a critical community need. We are especially grateful to the staff and board members of both organizations who worked to make this vision a reality. We congratulate Marcia Berger, who created, cultivated, and led AFA for the past 36 years, on her many achievements and are delighted to have Marcia on the J’s team. We look forward to seeing her impact as our new Director of Elder Adult Programming and Development Associate,” said Tucson J Board Chair Sarah Singer