NISRA - Nothern Illinois Special Recreation Association
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NISRA offers both visual and performing arts programs and events.  In the Sage Therapeutic Recreation Center Art Studio and on stage, participants in NISRA’s visual arts & performing arts programs benefit from the teaching & guidance of professional artists. The budding artists acquire techniques and resources to further develop their talent.

NISRA’s vision for cultural arts is: to nurture an appreciation of, and passion for the arts; to introduce new art media & techniques to the artists; and to advance each artist’s skills so that he/she may pursue artistic endeavors independently…for lifelong enjoyment!

Theater programs are offered for youth & adults, ending with a final production.  

NISRA’s Sage TR Center Art Studio is well-equipped for any potter/sculptor.  NISRA offers several programs for beginners or more experienced participants. There are ‘hand building’ activities where artists typically create mugs, plates and sculptures. The Studio also has three pottery wheels, including an accessible wheel for those who utilize a wheelchair or prefer to stand while throwing clay. 


Dance programs are offered some seasons. An instructor teaches basic dance steps and choreography.  


Individual Music Lessons are offered at a couple of locations within NISRA’s service area.  These individual lessons include instruction in voice, piano or guitar, and two performance recitals per year. The Joyful Noise Choir partners with the Encore! Music Academy of Crystal Lake to explore & develop vocal talents.  Learn more about the Academy at


Visual Arts
Art programs are taught by local artists and typically provide exposure to different types of media, such as painting, mixed media, drawing, three-dimensional work, and more. The Art Explorations program for adults focuses on the process of making art and working towards exhibiting art.   Individual Art Lessons are catered to the artist. NISRA provides any supplies needed and the artist is encouraged to explore different media under the direction and guidance of a specialized instructor.   NISRA also offers programs such as jewelry, scrapbooking, recycled art and more, some of which are provided at Pioneer Center in McHenry and AID in Elgin and during the workday.  


Partner Programs
During most seasons NISRA offers art workshops where moms, dads, siblings or friends take an art class with participants.