CATA Fall 2021 Newsletter

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Fall 2021

The Power of Generosity: YOU can bring arts programs to life for CATA artists. Join us!

p Artists like George let their creativity fly at CATA. YOU make our programs possible!

CATA is doubly vital now.

It’s Thursday at the BCArc Nu-Opps Brain Injury Program. A dozen CATA artists are gathered for a songwriting workshop. Together, they’ve just written the lyrics for a new song. Now, with CATA faculty Wes Buckley, they’re ready to set their words to music. Carol is especially eager. A longtime CATA artist and painter, this is her first time writing music. In fact, for much of her life, Carol says she didn’t have an outlet to speak her mind. She didn’t feel comfortable opening up or trying new things. She had a creative spirit waiting to get out. But no one knew. After Carol joined her first CATA workshop, something sparked in her. Soon, CATA was a cherished part of her week. She developed friendships and discovered a love for painting.

“CATA has brought out so many great things in me,” says Carol. “They give me the freedom to express myself and accomplish so much.” But when the pandemic hit, everything changed. In an instant, Carol lost her favorite activities, her CATA classes, and her community.


Photo by Christina Lane

Your support provides life-changing programs CATA artists count on.

p “When I share my art, I know I’m making people happy,” says Carol (BCArc). “I love that. I feel accomplished.”

“Carol couldn’t go out,” says Liz, who leads the Nu-Opps program. “She couldn’t see friends. And she couldn’t do the things she loves that gave her a routine—and a connection to other people. When CATA started programs online, it was one of the few things that made her smile.” It’s still a difficult time for so many as we confront the aftermath of the pandemic. Many people with disabilities have faced tremendous isolation and loss. We know that CATA has an important role to play now, as our artists look to re-engage and recover from the last year. We need your support now to bring lifechanging programs to artists like Carol. The arts can do so much to promote healing and recovery. Without you, we simply can’t provide the vital programs that hundreds of people with disabilities count on.

We’re trying to reach 800 people with disabilities. Will you help make this happen? After a long pandemic, demand for CATA is at an all-time high. CATA artists are eager to be together and express themselves. We’re working closely with 50 partners— day habilitation programs, schools, and nursing homes—to deliver more programs than ever before. YOUR GIFT today will make this possible.

p Artists Carol and Kathleen with CATA faculty Wes Buckley. Your support brings programs like songwriting to CATA artists in our community.

After nearly two years, Carol is now able to come to CATA in person. She can feel the joy of being together with her fellow painters, dancers, actors, storytellers, and songwriters.

“For Carol, jumping into a group and sharing her ideas—that’s HUGE,” says Liz. “The trust and friendships she’s developed at CATA have really helped her come out of her shell.” Back in the songwriting class, Carol hears her words set to music for the first time. Her verse is inspired by her paintings—and the satisfaction she feels knowing people will enjoy them. “When I share my art, I know I’m making people happy,” says Carol. “I love that. I feel accomplished. And it gives me inspiration. Without CATA, I wouldn’t have known I could do this.”

Please give today to support programs for CATA artists. We can’t do this work without you. u Artists like Dan (BFAIR) tap into their creativity in CATA programs. Your support makes our work possible.

Almost all of CATA’s budget (85%!) comes from donations from people like you. This year, we need to raise more to meet the needs of our community. Will you make a gift to support the talents of people with disabilities? PS: Please give generously now—and your gift will be DOUBLED, thanks to a Match Challenge! Turn to the back of this newsletter to see how you can make 2x the impact for CATA artists.

Thanks to you, CATA CAN BE everywhere in our community! Imagine this: Right now, a CATA artist is reciting a line from Shakespeare with his fellow actors. In a neighboring town, a teenager with disabilities is discovering a gift for rhythm. Nearby, an elder with Alzheimer’s is recalling a favorite song from childhood.

10am in Great Barrington: “I want to FLY like an eagle—til I’m free!” Hannah taps a tambourine and sings, keeping rhythm with her fellow CATA musicians as they jam to a favorite song.

Every day, your support brings CATA programs, led by professional faculty, to children, teens, and adults with disabilities all across our community. Here’s a peek into one day in the life of CATA...

12pm in Williamstown: “Tell me about growing up in the mountains” Helen, a woman with dementia, reconnects with a memory about her childhood during a visit from CATA’s Art Cart. A faculty artist improvises a song using Helen’s words, which they sing together.

9am in Pittsfield: “Raise your head like a cobra” Young CATA artists in a local elementary school bend and stretch, releasing tension and practicing balance in a yoga class.

12:30pm in North Adams: Up - over - CATCH! In his first juggling class, Doug keeps his eyes focused on two silk scarves as he tosses them back and forth to his juggling partner Anthony.

9:30am in Lee: “It brings out my soul and the depth of my personality” John shines a laser pointer onto a canvas. As he moves it up and around, a faculty artist follows his movement with a paintbrush. Soon, through this adaptive painting class, John’s creative vision comes to life in vivid color.

1pm in Lee: “As soon as the tools came out, they started opening up” At a program for people with traumatic and acquired brain injuries, CATA artists in a woodworking class put the finishing touches on a sculpture project. For many, using tools and building with their hands is reconnecting them to skills they learned before their injury.


What CATA artists LOVE about programs YOU make possible...

p Your support brings creative programs to Hannah and hundreds of CATA artists—in music, dance, painting, acting, writing, yoga, juggling, and more.

1:30pm in Pittsfield: “Share your signature move!” A classroom of high school students create dance moves that reflect their personality. Alex, a student who usually watches from the sidelines, jumps to the front to perform his “signature dance” for the class.

“At CATA I get to express how I feel and what I can do.” -Roman

2:30 in Great Barrington: “I am a tree, my feet are roots growing into the floor...” Michela and her classmates in the Writer’s Workshop brainstorm “juicy” words to use in a new poem.

4:30pm in Dalton: “CATA’s the best part of the week!” Teresa dips her brush into a dab of orange paint and swirls it with a touch of red. With fellow artists, Teresa is learning to mix colors for skin tones in a portrait painting workshop.

Your gift brings arts programs to people with disabilities across the community. Please support CATA artists by making a gift today.

“At CATA I can be around other creative people—and let my creative juices flow.” -Pat (BCArc)

Photo of Roman by Christina Lane / others by CATA

3pm in Stockbridge: “My moving statue” Esther stands in front of her improv class, takes a deep breath, and acts out a scene from an important moment in her life. When she takes a bow, the class erupts in cheers. “Way to go, Esther!”

Supporters Eva & Kip Sheridan:

For supporters Eva and Kip Sheridan, CATA is creating a vital link between people with disabilities and the wider community. “Having the opportunity to talk to CATA artists about the things they’re passionate about—it brings us all together into the creative process and connects us as a community.” Before joining Boyd Technologies earlier this year as Senior Director of Human Resources, Eva held executive positions at Main Street Hospitality. Through her work there, she became close with several CATA artists who worked at the Red Lion Inn. “I’ve known many CATA artists personally over the years,” says Eva, “and hearing them talk about what they’re doing at CATA, their excitement to perform or share their artwork—it all became personal for me. At CATA, they were tapping into a side of themselves that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to share.” Eva feels passionately about CATA’s mission— so much so that she decided to join the board. “People with disabilities haven’t always been given opportunities to thrive,” adds Eva. “CATA is changing that. They’re providing pathways to creativity—and making sure everyone has a way to flourish.”


Photo by Christina Lane

“CATA is all about human connection.”

Over the years, Eva and Kip have seen the impact of CATA programs first hand. But there’s one story they want everyone to hear: “During the pandemic, CATA’s commitment to their artists and to their mission has been extraordinary. Instead of giving up, CATA turned to the community to say ‘We’re here for you.’ They listened to the needs of artists, families, and partners, and pivoted to deliver their programs in a personal and unique way. It speaks volumes to how hardy and passionate CATA is about its mission.” That commitment to mission is what makes Eva and Kip proud to support CATA as donors.

“When we give to CATA, we have an exponential return on our investment,” says Eva and Kip. “It’s a community return, and a return in love. CATA has the formula for turning dollars into BIG impact. And that’s what it’s all about. Donors at every level make CATA possible.”

Please join Eva and Kip Sheridan and make a gift to support the talents of CATA artists.

Dawn Lane founded and led the Moving Company, a celebrated mixed-ability dance company.


Dawn Lane We’re proud to salute Dawn Lane, CATA’s Artistic Director, who is retiring after an incredible 28 years. Since joining CATA in 1994, Dawn founded and led the Moving Company, a mixed-ability dance company that has been celebrated for their spirited choreography and expressive originality. As director of CATA’s Annual Performance, Dawn has led powerful productions that have shined a light on the talents of people with developmental disabilities. “Dawn’s ingenuity and artistry as a dancer, teacher, choreographer, and director—and her impassioned advocacy for people with disabilities—have shaped and guided CATA’s mission,” says Margaret Keller, CATA’s Executive Director. “Her legacy of innovation and inclusion will inspire CATA’s work for years to come!”

Dawn’s innovative direction of CATA’s Annual Performance has shined a light on the talents of artists with disabilities.

Dawn’s advocacy as an educator has made a life-long impact for countless CATA artists.

“As I step down from my role as Artistic Director, I am reminded of my first days at CATA, teaching weekly workshops and sitting on a wooden folding chair in CATA founder Sandy Newman’s home office—growing CATA. And look at CATA now! I am full of comic and poignant memories and a deep sense of fulfillment. Quality has informed everything in my work with CATA artists, followed closely by creativity, advocacy, and of course, humor! Endings are an opportunity to begin… for me and for CATA!” Photos by Christina Lane

“CATA makes my heart fill up!” -Franck (BCArc)

“When I see my artwork in a museum, I feel like ‘WOW!’ People see what we can do. That’s amazing.”

“Painting makes me happy. CATA makes me more happy!” -Sarah (BFAIR/UCP)


Photos 1 & 2 by Christina Lane; photo 3 by CATA

What CATA artists LOVE about programs YOU make possible...

Your gift now could be DOUBLED! Give now and help unlock a $25,000 Match Challenge to support CATA artists!

Your contribution today will go even further to support programs for people with disabilities.

Make a difference at CATA! Simply fill out the enclosed envelope, visit, or scan this QR code to make a gift.

CATA has a new address! Please update your records.

420 Stockbridge Rd, Suite 2 Great Barrington, MA 01230 (413) 528-5485 ·

Heather Wells Heim, President Sharon Mozian, Vice President Emily Rechnitz, Vice President Ira Grossman, Treasurer David Rice, Secretary Sandra Baron · Liz Costley Beverly Hosokawa · Sarah Hunter Mindi Morin · Rich Petrino Elaine Radiss · Carol Riordan Linda Russell · Stephen Shatz Eva Sheridan · Ben Silberstein John Whalan


Are you a CATA regular? Increase your gift and you’ll bring twice the joy to CATA artists! Didn’t donate last year? Every dollar you give now will be DOUBLED!


Great news! A group of anonymous donors has pledged an additional $25,000 IF we can raise $25,000 in new or increased gifts by December 31.

Margaret Keller, Executive Director Dawn Lane, Artistic Director Katie Clarke, Administrative Director David Dashiell, Administrative Associate Jeff Gagnon, Program Manager Kara Smith, Program Coordinator Norma Stobbe, Program Associate Alexandra Heddinger, Development Director Kate Harding, Development Associate Chris Watford, Communications Manager Sandra Newman, Founder all photos by CATA unless otherwise noted

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