CATA NEWS Fall 2019

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The Power of Generosity Because of you, CATA artists like Cathy are finding joy in self expression.

Fall 2019

5 Reasons to Give to CATA Each fall, a new year of programs kicks off for hundreds of CATA artists. We’ve planned an exciting roster of workshops— led by professional faculty artists in collaboration with residences, day programs, and schools across our community— so people with disabilities can tap into their creativity. Now we need your help to continue this work and keep changing lives through the arts! Here are five ways your gift will make a difference for CATA artists:

1. Sarah You’ll give Sarah a place to express herself and reach her potential. Your support will help CATA artists unleash their creativity in dance, theater, painting, juggling, music, yoga, creative writing, and more.

2. Julie You’ll help nursing home residents like Julie share their life stories. Your gift will bring the arts to hundreds of elders, including those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and help them share their memories and talents through music and poetry.

3. Mathew You’ll help students like Mathew tap into their creative spirit. Your donation will give students in special education programs a way to share all that’s inside them through workshops in songwriting, painting, modern dance, and more. 2

4. John You’ll bring joy to John when he sees his paintings in an art gallery. Your donation lets CATA artists shine in art exhibits at the Clark Art Institute, Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, Worcester Art Museum, and beyond.

5. Tyler You’ll put Tyler’s talents on stage. Your generosity will shine a light on the talents of CATA artists in performances and poetry readings at Shakespeare & Company and The Mount. photos 1, 3, 5: Christina Lane

We can’t do this work without YOU! Make a gift to support CATA artists today.


“A joy I can’t even explain” You’re helping elders share their life stories. “For someone who might be down, who feels like a drooping flower, it lifts them up like you just gave them water.” 4

David smiles as a calm, rhythmic sound fills his room. Across from him, CATA Faculty Artist JoAnne Spies gently strums a metal drum. “Listening to this music is so soothing,” he says. “It makes me think of my health. I can feel it resonating through my body. Going through all the tension and pain. It’s healing.”

Your support is bringing music, poetry and art to people like David at nursing homes across the Berkshires. Through CATA’s Art Cart program, a team of CATA “troubadours,” led by JoAnne, go room to room, inspiring elders to share their memories, life stories and talents.

“CATA’s visits are a true miracle.” In the next room, JoAnne greets a woman named Helen. She listens as Helen shares stories about her family and life as a young woman. A moment later, JoAnne is playing guitar, singing along and bringing Helen’s stories to life through music. “The Art Cart brings me to places in people’s hearts where joy resides,” says JoAnne. “You see the difference immediately. People light up and say ‘You’ve made my day!’ For someone who might be down, who feels like a drooping flower, it lifts them up like you just gave them water.” Thanks to the generosity of people like you, the Art Cart has been forging meaningful and often therapeutic connections for elders in our community for over twenty years— including those with Alzheimer’s and dementia— as well as patients in rehabilitation. Now, because of your support, CATA’s outreach has expanded to welcome two new troubadours: local musicians Jeanne Laurin and Wes Buckley. “CATA’s visits are a true miracle,” says a nurse at one of the six Berkshire Healthcare settings that CATA serves. “It gives residents the chance to truly be elders— people whose wisdom is heard, respected, and treasured.”

For resident Julie, the Art Cart visits are a highlight of her week. As soon as she hears JoAnne play her steel drum, she sits up in her wheelchair. She’s instantly transported:

“I’m somewhere else on an island,” she says. “This is the music behind me. And the scene in front of me is breathtaking.” She smiles. “It fills me with a joy I can’t even explain.” “Listening is a big part of it,” says JoAnne. “I ask about their work, their life. Then I listen with my whole heart. And that changes people.” As JoAnne gets ready to leave for the day, she sees Helen again, rolling her wheelchair down the hall. “Did you hear it?” she exclaims to another resident. “She wrote me a song!”

Your support helps elders like David, Helen, and Julie find joy and share their life stories. Donate to CATA and make a difference today! 5

“CATA stretches every gift” Why Carol and Michael Riordan are proud to be CATA donors Looking for a local organization to get involved with, Carol and Michael Riordan hoped to find one that reflected their values. When they learned about CATA from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, they knew they’d found something special. After doing some research, they decided to make a gift. And soon afterward, Margaret, CATA’s Executive Director, invited them to visit a dance workshop. “Watching CATA artists dancing, seeing their enthusiasm and joy, and the integrity of the staff and teaching artists— I was blown away.” Seeing how their gift made a difference turned Carol and Michael into CATA believers. “Creativity is a human characteristic, it’s not constrained by disability. CATA lives that.”

Since then, Carol and Michael have seen their support in action across the community. And they like knowing that their support is going a long way to make a difference for CATA artists. “CATA’s small and lean. They stretch every resource. Nothing goes to waste. I really admire that. This is an organization that’s truly focused on its artists and serving the community. Everything CATA does is towards that end. And they accomplish so much.” For anyone thinking of making a donation, Carol says: “Giving to CATA has a real impact

on a real person. You’re giving each CATA artist a sense of pride, of being respected. I can’t think of a nicer gift than that.”

t You make it possible for CATA artists like Sarah (United Cerebral Palsy of Berkshire County) to tap into their creative spirit.

photo: David Dashiell

How Little Gloria Made a BIG Gift to CATA

“There’s so much love and appreciation— and talent and support—at CATA. I’m so happy that this was her first expression of philanthropy.”

When seven-year-old Gloria saw the joy and talents of CATA artists in our Annual Performance earlier this year, something sparked in her.

“She was just trembling with joy when that came in the mail,” says Amy. “That she was being recognized as a cool person who cares about the world— it was like she had met a celebrity!”

“She loves the arts and she loves engaging with people,” says her mom, Amy. “She was glued to everything happening on stage— cheering the artists on after every act.” After the show, Gloria was beaming.

A few weeks later Gloria got a card from CATA thanking her for her gift.

“She had a crisp $100 bill that she’d been saving. And she wanted to donate it to CATA.”

“We went out into the lobby and she just blurted it out! She had a crisp $100 bill back home that she’d been saving since Christmas. And she wanted to donate it to CATA.”

“Celebrating humanity and the arts is what we’re all about,” says Amy. “And that’s what CATA’s all about, too. Here we are six months later and Gloria’s still glowing about it!”

Seeing the pride and thrill of CATA artists sharing their talents on stage inspired Gloria to make her first-ever donation.

Will you follow Gloria’s lead? Join her in making a gift to CATA today! 7

You helped Izzy open up to the world— and find a new passion. For years, Izzy would shut down around other people. And her disability made it hard for her to speak her mind. Izzy had a big personality waiting to get out. But no one knew. “She was pretty closed off,” says her mom, Laura. “She didn’t want to participate in things. And she would never speak up for herself.” One day, after sitting on the sidelines of a CATA dance class, Izzy stood up and started dancing. All by herself, she performed a solo while her peers cheered her on. “When Izzy became part of the community here,” says Dawn Lane, CATA’s Artistic Director and dance teacher, “something clicked.” Now, as a young adult:

“Izzy’s like a new person,” says Laura. “She’s totally come out of her shell. I had no idea she had this in her!”

Your gift could be DOUBLED! Give now and help us unlock a $15,000 challenge gift!

photos this page: Christina Lane

For Izzy, CATA is more than just dancing. You’ve given her a place to express herself. Support artists like Izzy today with a gift to CATA!

A group of donors has pledged to give CATA an additional $15,000 IF we can raise $15,000 in new or increased gifts by December 31.

Stephen Shatz, President Emily Rechnitz, Vice President Heather Wells Heim, Vice President Ira Grossman, Treasurer Elaine Radiss, Secretary

Sandra Baron · Kathryn Burdsall Beverly Hosokawa · David Hosokawa Melissa Lydon · Neal Maxymillian Sharon Mozian · Rich Petrino David Rice · Linda Russell Ben Silberstein · John Whalan

40 Railroad Street, Suite 6 · Gt. Barrington, MA 01230 · · 413-528-5485 ·



Are you a CATA regular? Increase your generous gift and you’ll bring twice the joy to CATA artists! Didn’t give last year? Give now and every dollar will be DOUBLED! Your support now means more than ever. Simply fill out the enclosed envelope or visit

Margaret Keller, Executive Director Dawn Lane, Program & Artistic Director Katie Clarke, Administrative Director Natalia Bystrianyk, Administrative Coordinator Jeff Gagnon, Program Manager Kara Smith, Program Coordinator Bianca Gigli, Program Associate Kate Harding, Development Associate Chris Watford, Communications Manager Sandra Newman, Founder

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