The founder of Shoe Town Art Center Emily Lawrence-Boulger, believes that every individual is a learner and that everyone has the ability to create.
Being in the field of special education for so many years, Emily has noticed there are not many after school opportunities for children and adults with disabilities.
This is the primary reason why Emily was inspired to open Shoe Town Art Center. She wanted a place for all people to feel welcome, regardless of their skill level or needs. Emily’s experience and advanced education allows her to work comfortably with students and support a variety of populations including individuals with intellectual, social-emotional and behavioral disabilities.
For students with behavioral disabilities, Emily utilizes the principals of applied behavioral analysis to break down the concepts of art projects into smaller meaningful components. This enables her to provide concrete instruction to teach new skills and then build upon them.
For individuals with social-emotional disabilities, Emily uses a therapeutic approach focused on creating a comfortable learning environment where her students are free to explore their own creative process. Then, when students are ready to move on in the process, she can begin introducing new lessons and expanding on the students’ knowledge.
It goes without saying, that every student is unique and will benefit from individualized instruction. We will do our best to accommodate and modify our instruction to meet the needs of each of our students.
Founder & Director
Emily grew up in Haverhill Massachusetts. She then moved to New York City, studied fine arts at Fashion Institute of Technology and received her bachelor of fine arts from the School of Visual Arts. Emily then went to UMASS Lowell for a degree in behavior intervention in autism and special education. She earned a masters degree of education in visual arts and learning at Endicott College in 2011. Emily has been working towards a doctorate degree in Education Administration since 2012.
Emily was been a special educator for over a decade as well as a program coordinator. Emily uses a muti-sensory approach based on Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences Theory and Applied Behavioral Analysis in her instruction. In 2009 she was recognized for her teaching and was awarded "2008 Special Education Art Educator of the Year" by the National Arts and Education Association.
Throughout her time as a special educator and program coordinator, Emily has worked hard to get all her students involved in art and created a variety of multi disciplinary curricula based on the National and Massachusetts frameworks. The Massachusetts Department of Education awarded her the “Promising Practices Grant” featuring her curricula on their website as an example. She has organized many art exhibits and collaboration pieces for the students and communities she serves. Connecting the Community Through the Arts is a collaborative mural now displayed in the downtown area of her home city Haverhill that involved over 600 participants. She is actively participating in current public arts projects world-wide.
Shoe Town Art Center
200 Merrimack Street
Haverhill, MA 01832