In 2006, a small group of local and international artists and educators met to explore how to bring art experiences together with social skills education to young children in Southeast Ohio. The group was led by Domi Adamova, a Czech professional K-12 teacher and teacher-trainer who received her second master’s degree in School and Community Counseling from Ohio University. In 2005, she brought the plays and programs she had authored and produced in her native Czech Republic to Southeastern Ohio.
Prior to her activities with the A.P.E. Center, Domi organized various children programs at ARTS/West in Athens, and in local schools. Those were the seeds that later led to the formal creation of Appalachian Progressive Education Center (A.P.E. Center). With the assistance of a volunteer board of trustees, the A.P.E. Center was registered as an Ohio non-profit corporation in 2007. In 2008, it was awarded 501(C)(3) status by the IRS.
The mission of the A.P.E. Center is to provide theatre, music and art programs for building character and self-esteem in young children from Southeast Ohio. Since its founding, the A.P.E. Center has been incubated by ARTS/West, a division of the City of Athens Recreation Department, which is dedicated to making art accessible to all Athenians and offers a low-cost office space to incubated organizations.
Over the years, the A.P.E. Center has successfully developed and presented a number of programs to further the goal of integrating arts and character education into children and youth school and after-school curriculum. Some of the special programs which A.P.E. Center has presented include Summer Theatre Camps, Summer Music Camps, bully prevention workshops and programs in libraries and schools, educational plays and musicals, and theater, music and visual arts classes.
In the summer 2013, A.P.E. Center launched its Language Center at 507 Richland Ave in Athens to provide foreign language and culture education to toddlers through adults. It has offered classes in many languages (Spanish, German, French, and English as a Second Language) for various ages and skill-levels and created jobs for professional language educators.
The A.P.E. Center strives for sustainability of its programs and highly supports cooperation with other non-profits to serve the community best. Over the years we have cooperated with ARTS/West, the Ohio University Child Development Center, the Dairy Barn, Paper Circle, Public Libraries Network, The Howard Chandler Christy Art Guild, Elemental Athletics, Ohio University’s Kids on Campus, and the West Elementary Arts Council for Children.
We also provided the community with our free children’s programs at various fairs and festivals, including the Paw Paw Festival, The Arts Partnership‘s KidsFest, Great Outdoor Adventure, PumpkinFest, and more.
Our work has been regularly featured in local newspapers and other media: WOUB TV, The Athens Messenger, Parental Magazine, The Athens News, and McConelsville Dispatch.