Our mission is to provide visual and performing arts education and cultural activities, to children and adults with special needs.
Merrimack Hall houses The Happy Headquarters, a visual and performing arts program for children, teens and adults with special needs. Our programs drastically improve the quality of life for people with special needs, as we work toward bringing the people we serve out of the shadows and into the life of our community.
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support The Happy Headquarters at Merrimack Hall!
In 2006, Debra and Alan Jenkins decided to pair their financial resources with their efforts as volunteers to strengthen the arts in Madison County. They established a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and donated nearly $2.5 million to purchase and renovate a historic building that was once part of a textile mill village in Huntsville. After a 13-month renovation, Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center opened its doors to the public in July 2007.
Twelve years later, Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center stands as the center of activity for hundreds of people with special needs and their families. The focus of Merrimack Hall’s mission is to provide visual and performing arts education to children and adults with special needs, but the heart of Merrimack Hall is the community of lives that have been connected through the arts. The quality of life for people with special needs has been drastically improved by Merrimack Hall, as we work toward bringing the people we serve out of the shadows and into the life of our community.
What began as one small dance class, launched on October 15, 2008, is today a three-pronged program which makes up the Happy Headquarters at Merrimack Hall, which has three distinct components:
Additionally, we offer the chance for all of our participants to participate in perennial concerts, performances, and theatrical productions hosted at Merrimack Hall. Each showcase is a comprehensive production with professional sound, lighting and costumes featuring original acts and dance numbers rehearsed in our Happy HeARTS classes.
These performances have an uncanny effect on our participants. They build priceless amounts of self-confidence and offer multiple physical and cognitive benefits, not to mention bringing a smile from ear-to-ear!
Additionally, we encourage all adults involved in our programs to join our performance team. This is an opportunity to get outside of comfort zones and venture to new, fun places that support our programs and raise awareness on behalf of our mission.
1. conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.
2. everybody is more alike than we are different.
At Merrimack Hall, we firmly believe that every one of us has special needs. Some have special needs on the outside readily visible; some have special needs on the inside.
Everyone has the need to feel loved.
Everyone has the need to feel accepted.
Please join our efforts to make Huntsville & Madison County the gold-standard for diversity and inclusion by becoming a volunteer, donating or spreading awareness on behalf of our mission.
In the words of co-founder Alan Jenkins,
“Merrimack Hall is not just about bricks and mortar, it’s about the arts revitalizing a neighborhood.”
Merrimack Hall’s renovations have created a positive economic impact on our neighborhood — the historic Merrimack Mill Village — and on the community as a whole in a number of ways.