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Inclusive Saturday Classes

Free Art Workshops for Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

CMA’s Inclusive Saturday Classes provide a free opportunity for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and their family and friends. CMA Teaching Artists are trained in facilitating structured workshops that are specifically designed to help children with Autism develop social skills, creative problem-solving, and expression through art. The program’s supportive environment also helps strengthen family ties and builds a sense of community for families affected by Autism.

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Ages 1-7

Registration Opens November 23

Audience: Children ages 1-7 years old with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families

Led by Tom Burnett, CMA’s Director of stART Studio and Early Childhood Education, these free virtual classes encourage children to explore different art mediums through sensory experiences, music, and movement activities. Children build motor skills and self-regulated independence and social skills while connecting with siblings and caregivers.

Date: December 5, 2020

Time: 10:30 AM to 11:10 AM ET

Location: Online via Zoom

Project: Holiday Sculpture


  • Model Magic
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Beads
  • Buttons
  • Found objects from home such as old toys, paperclips, and cotton balls

Download CMA’s Social Story for Online Classes

Ages 8+

Registration Opens November 23

Audience: Children ages 8-15 years old with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families

This free class uses art-making to build peer-to-peer relationships in a virtual setting. Families will look closely at artwork as inspiration for creating individual pieces while exploring with household art materials.

Dates: December 5, 2020

Time: 11 AM to 11:40 AM ET

Location: Online via Zoom

Project: Animal Winter Homes

Caregivers and children will work together to build a winter home for their favorite animal. Animals often need protection from the winter elements. Families will use recycled or found materials to build a cozy home for an animal they love. At the end of the session, families can share their creations with each other.


  • Small cardboard box with top cut open 
  • Cotton balls 
  • Aluminum foil
  • 2-3 toilet paper or paper towel rolls
  • Paper (any kind)
  • Scissors
  • Liquid glue (can use Q-tips to apply glue if the bottle is too much)
  • Masking tape
  • Covered table or surface that is ok to create on

Download CMA’s Social Story for Online Classes

What to Expect

  • 40-45 minute interactive art class with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families
  • Curriculum rooted in accessible art-making practices and CMA’s pedagogy Look, Make, Share
  • Specialized lessons and engaging, hands-on projects designed specifically for children with ASD and their families to do together
  • Opportunities for children to examine artwork, express their ideas, socialize with peers, and explore their creativity through sensory projects and materials
  • Classes by CMA Director of Early Childhood Education Tom Burnett and CMA School and Community Programs Manager and Teaching Artist Mackie Saylor
  • Small class sizes allow for interaction between families and with the instructor
  • Families will need to provide their own materials (often include basic art materials and recycled / found materials from home)


“I am always so impressed these programs at CMA are of such high quality and free of charge. Families of special-needs kids in NYC really, really, want/need to participate in the arts (and it’s a big reason everyone loves living here), but there are so many reasons this can be hard. We are very grateful, and I will tell all of our friends in the Autism community.”

“​I do not think the arts are as valued in a typical school setting so being able to participate in art activities is educational and fantastic for my daughter’s creativity. Socially, to be around other children is usually difficult for my daughter but she did so well. The Teaching Artists were so supportive and made conversation with her. The stART program is nothing short of amazing. The activities are wonderful, the workshop is fantastic, and the Teaching Artists are amazing folks.”

This program is supported by Liselotte and Robin Vince, the Barbara Hunt McLanahan Memorial Fund, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Jennifer & Jonathan Soros Foundation, The Robert Lehman Foundation, the Louis Legacy Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

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