Creative Pursuits Program

Ken Baltes - Artist

The Creative Pursuits Arts Program is the vision of Ken Baltes, who was an artist with a background in computer technology.  He was always artistic, but art finally became a focus after his retirement in 2015.  Ken was diagnosed with ALS in 2020.  He quickly joined The ALS Association board in Minnesota and was very active in the ALS community. 

Toward the end of his life, Ken put together a committee to make his goal of bringing the arts to others who are living with ALS a reality.  Research supports what he strongly believed in, the beneficial power of creative arts for improving the quality of life for someone living with a chronic condition like ALS.  It is because of Ken and his devotion to this idea that we are creating this artistic program today. 

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Arts Program Director, Liz Stanley, comes to us with a background in art education, and has been teaching art from preschool age to adults, in every medium, for the last sixteen years.  Liz recently moved back to the states after seven years teaching abroad in Turkey, Cambodia and Costa Rica. Liz lost her best friend, who was an amazing artist, to ALS nearly three years ago. 


This has inspired me to bring my passion for the therapeutic power of creation to people living with ALS.  - Liz Stanley

In the vision of Ken Baltes, Liz is here to cultivate creative experiences for people living with ALS and launch our Creative Pursuits program through The ALS Association-Minnesota hub. This program will expand as it takes root and soon be offered in neighboring states.

If there is an idea or creative pursuit you'd like to share, or if you would like to donate time, materials or creative space please collaborate with Liz at [email protected].

View and Download the Creative Pursuits Program + What is ALS Fact Sheet

Mobile Device Photography Series | Online
Series: Wednesdays running September 13 through 27, 2023
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, August 23.

Want to impress all your social media followers with your great shots, or just take better photos?

Learn the basics of photography including focus, exposure control, and how to improve your composition. This workshop is for any person living with ALS regardless of photographic experience and physical abilities, all you need is a mobile device with a camera built in.

Write Your Life Series | Online
Series: Thursdays running September 14 - October 5, 2023
Registration Deadline: Thursday, August 24

Write Your Life with The Loft Literary Center

The Loft Literary Center will host this online class taught by Gail Milstein an experienced writer.  Whether you want to write your memories for family members and friends or hope to publish a memoir, come try your hand at writing exercises to spark your memory and tell your story.  

Digital Art Series | Online
Series: Thursdays running october 11 - 25, 2023
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, September 20

Digital Art with Liz Stanley

Ready to try something new?  Whether you can draw a straight line or not, this class is for you.  Learn the basics of how to create art using an easy-to-use app that will be determined later and communicated with you if you sign up.  Art can be created in so many ways using this app.

Finding Poetry in the Personal Series | Online
Series: fridays running october 13 - november 3, 2023
Registration Deadline: Friday, September 22

Finding Poetry in the Personal with The Loft Literary Center

The Loft Literary Center will host this online class taught by Glenda Reed, an experienced writer.  

Comedy Lab 101 | Online
Series: Thursdays running October 19 to November 16, 2023
Registration Deadline: Thursday, September 28

Comedy Lab 101 Series

Everyone has a funny bone. Yes, everyone!  Join us for a fun, supportive, and laughter-filled exploration of everything humorous.  We’ll play with improvisation, joke writing, storytelling, and more.  

Electronic Music Series | Online
Series: Mondays running october 23 - november 6, 2023
Registration Deadline: Monday, October 2

Electronic Music with MacPhail Center for Music

MacPhail believes music is for everyone and everyone has a song waiting to come out. Their goal is to support you in finding and letting out the music within you.

Flash Fiction Series | Online
Series: Wednesdays running November 8 to November 29, 2023
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, October 18

Flash Fiction Series

The Loft Literary Center will host this online class taught by Jessie Sholl, an experienced writer.  Short short stories, often limited to a single page, have become very popular and are a great way to hone your skills for setting a scene, describing a character, and hooking readers.  

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