Fire Drill

A.R.T. was such a stunning success the board was able to run a capital campaign that paid for a schnazzy new arts building.   The problem was how well-meaning policy makers in the state capital mandated all those with severe physical challenges get out of their centers x hours a week.  I guess they had dreams of these young people who could not walk, use their hands or many unable to speak, would somehow be driven away to some sort of training program where they would learn a trade and this would lead to their independence.
Looks good on paper but none of those we worked with, with such severe challenges could compete in the normal working world. That is unless they were playing from their strong suit. The power they had inside. That resonant hum of making HIGH ART!
Back to the state mandate. This state mandate was the reason the arts building we’re talking about was erected separate from the school. So the staff could dress the residents in winter clothes when it was winter, place them in a van and cart them a couple hundred yards from the school.  This let them satisfy the state mandated check boxes the residents were leaving the building.  NOTE: Getting some of these quadriplegic folks in and out of their winter gear took nearly as long as they had for that day’s painting session.
On a nice day one of the A.R.T. artists sat outdoors with me. Very curious about this art building  everyone was talking about breaking ground soon, he was able to determine it would not be physically linked to the school.  Making a puzzled face he asked: “Why Tim? I don’t get it. Why is it not with the school?”  Explaining it the best I could he thought things over then said, “Oh. Sort of like a fire drill.”
PS –  When the art building was up and running this artist I mentioned attempted to make it down the steep drop to the arts building, on his own. His wheelchair picked up so much speed its brakes gave out, he crashed and broke his arm.