about adaptive arts

A place where students of all abilities learn, train and perform together

our mission

Adaptive Arts believes in helping students of ALL ABILITIES find their performance and artistic expression through traditional and adaptive means.

our vision

Adaptive Arts believes in the power of artists and community working together. Our special needs community is critically underrepresented in the performing arts: identifying this, Adaptive Art’s solution is to build an inclusive performing arts school in the greater South Bend area that caters to a performer’s ability.

our values

We believe in relationship-based education – the emphasis is placed on getting to know our students as individuals before we jump into the curriculum. Our favorite question to ask – how can I teach you if I do not know you?

our methods

Inventive and person-first oriented, we incorporate a student’s choices and then instruct using adaptive language and creative ways to help immerse and engage our students in their art form so they can be playing an instrument, painting, or dancing within minutes of their first lesson.

adaptive arts … arts for all ages and abilities

Live Performances

Students interested in taking their art to the stage are encouraged to do so in our annual student showcases. RockABILITY and SHINE ON! benefit concerts have frown so large we can’t fit into the smaller venues -we hope to grow so large that we have to move to the area’s larger performing art theatres. These concerts currently have a cast of 75 with over 600 guests in attendance. They are our best way to show our mission in action and are our main source of fundraising for our art and scholarship programs. The students take stage and are backed up by region’s best musicians, affectionately known as, the Chopped Liver Orchestra (CLO).

Adaptive Devices “Adaptives”

Adaptive Arts works with community members to create adaptive devices to help individuals play traditional instruments more comfortably, by adapting the instrument to their cognitive or physical challenge.

Instrument Adoptions

Adaptive Arts receives working, donated instruments and places them with students who need them.


Help us help students become the artists that they wish to be! Adaptive Arts is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Tuition covers 70% of our operating costs, and philanthropic dollars make up the rest, including scholarships for students who need assistance.

meet our teachers…

Our favorite question to ask –

“How can I teach you if I do not know you?”

                                                                                                                          ~ Jetta Cruse

jetta cruse

Jetta Cruse is the founder and Executive Director of Adaptive Arts.

Ms. Jetta has been a professional musician in the South Bend community for over 30 years.

In her musical life, she discovered her ability to help others unlock the music inside of them. Fans became friends and started requesting private music instruction for their loved ones, some with disabilities.

This led her on a quest of providing music education, training, and performance opportunities for students of all abilities.

Jetta really enjoys working with students considered non-verbal, and is inspired to bridge the gaps of physical disabilities or injuries by inventing devices to assist the student with comfort and ease of playing.

She specializes in adapting music theory and methodology for students with cognitive challenges, and has created a new vocabulary for music instruction for the introductory level student that gets them playing music in their first lesson, typically, within a matter of minutes.

She mixes in games and lots of joy and laughter. She believes that you can only teach a person once you truly get to know them.

So she constantly reaffirms the practice of relationship based education in her teaching and training of other instructors to be sensitive educators.

Currently, Ms. Jetta has limited availability for private lessons.

“I am not a stranger to the dark
‘Hide away,’ they say,
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts’
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
‘Run away,’ they say,

contact us

8 + 10 =

We Love What We Do