CATA Fall/Winter News (2022)

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The Power of Generosity

NEWS Fall/Winter 2022
their creativity
Artists like Lisa let
soar at
programs possible!
YOU can bring the arts to life for CATA artists. Join

It’s Wednesday and artists with disabilities are gathering at CATA for a Shakespeare’s Players acting class. Keira is especially excited. She’s learning one of her favorite roles and now she’s ready to recite her lines for the whole class.

Keira wasn’t always comfortable opening up to others. For much of her life, she had a hard time making friends and speaking her mind. “Keira was so shy and quiet,” says her mother Tamie. “She wouldn’t look people in the eye and didn’t want to participate.”

Then, when Keira was a student in the special education program at Pittsfield High School, CATA brought drumming and yoga to her classroom. Something clicked.

“Keira was like a different person when CATA was there,” says Tamie. “She really started opening up. Right away I went to CATA and signed her up for more classes after school.”

Fast forward to today : Keira is a confident, young adult in the community and CATA is a cherished part of her life. At CATA, she can let her creativity fly!

“I can be myself at CATA—and I’m not as shy anymore,” says Keira. “It makes me happy to learn new things and be with friends. I’m really excited when I’m on stage!”

Your support now will bring life-changing programs to hundreds of people with disabilities like Keira. Without you, we simply can’t provide the vital programs that hundreds of CATA artists count on.

The past two years have been especially hard for people with disabilities. Many experienced profound isolation and loss. CATA artists are craving more time to tap into their talents and discover who they can be.

“Keira is like a flower that has unfolded and blossomed at CATA,” says Diane, a faculty artist who leads the Shakespeare’s Players class. “The spotlight hits her and she just glows!”

“I can be myself at CATA—and Your gifts bring life-changing arts programs

CATA—and dream BIG!”

programs to people with disabilities now.

“CATA gives Keira a way to dream BIG,” says Tamie. She’s excited to try new things and share her ideas. In a CATA songwriting class, Keira tapped into her own experience to write lyrics for an original song—Dream Voice:

We’re trying to reach 800 people with disabilities this year. Will you help make this happen?

Right now, demand for CATA is at an all-time high. We’re working hard to deliver programs to more people with disabilities than ever before.

Almost ALL of CATA’s budget (87%) comes from donations from donors like you. This year, we must raise more to bring CATA workshops to all the people who need them. Will you give today to support the talents of people with disabilities?

PS: Please give generously now and your gift could be DOUBLED thanks to a Match Challenge! Give by Dec. 31 and your donation will go even further to support CATA artists.

Keira’s self-confidence now radiates to every part of her life. “CATA has really helped support Keira’s goals for independence,” says Tamie. “I’m so happy she’s in the community and doing the things she loves. I don’t know what her life would have been like without CATA. This is the Keira that needs to be.”

I still remember the time
With my confidence I came off the stage Feeling how far I would go...
Now, from my heart, I share my story, who I am… I found what makes me happy, And I sing it from my dream voice.
David (BFAIR) taps into his talents at CATA!

You bring CATA programs

Imagine this: A CATA artist is moving joyfully to the beat in their first tap dance class. In a neighboring town, a CATA artist learns new painting techniques to create a self portrait. Nearby, a student in a special education classroom is discovering a gift for rhythm.

Every day, your donations bring life-changing arts programs to children, teens, and adults with disabilities all across our community.

Take a peek into a day in the life of CATA...

North Adams: “Wawanko, Sikolaiko!”

Anthony keeps a steady beat on the dundun drum while his fellow artists sing along to Djole, a traditional West African song that they’re learning together.

Pittsfield: “Now raise your arms and stretch like a tree!” Young CATA artists in a local elementary school bend and stretch, releasing tension and practicing balance in a yoga class.

Dalton: “How does it feel? What do you notice? Can you roll it with your hands?” Christine smooths out a mound of clay, then uses a special rolling pin to create a spiky texture on her sculpture in a tactile arts class.

Great Barrington: At the CATA studios, Malika and Uli create a dance about connection in a sensory-friendly dance class.

Meanwhile in the Writers’ Workshop, Eric is trying out juicy words for his poem: “If my house were on fire, what I would save first is myself—because you can’t replace yourself.”

Anthony (BFAIR) taps into his talents in drumming.
t Mark (BFAIR) tries juggling three balls at once—and nails it!
Malika (BCArc) expresses her creativity in dance.

all across our community!

Lee: Connie moves her wheelchair up to a large easel and shines a laser pointer onto a blank canvas. As she moves the laser up and around, faculty artist Pat follows her movement with a paintbrush. Soon, in this adaptive painting class, Connie’s ideas come to life in vivid color.

North Adams: Mark keeps his eye on two juggling balls as he tosses them high in the air—and then catches them. With encouragement from faculty artist Roger, Mark adds a third ball and his fellow CATA artists erupt in cheers.

Lee: At a program for people with traumatic and acquired brain injuries, CATA artists gather for a seated dance class. Jennie moves her fingers in the air, recalling an experience playing piano. One by one, the artists add a movement inspired by a musical instrument. When the dance ends, Jim has an idea: “We should all pluck our heart strings!”

Pittsfield: Trey, a student at Pittsfield High School, dips his brush into his paint palette— finding just the right mix for his watercolor painting. Later this year, he’ll have the chance to see his painting framed and on display in an art gallery during a CATA art exhibit.

Williamstown: Lyle, an elder at a local nursing home, shares a memory from his childhood during a visit from CATA’s Art Cart. JoAnne, a faculty artist, strums her guitar and improvises a song from Lyle’s story, which they sing together.

Trey brings his creative flair to watercolor painting. CATA artists explore balance and breath in yoga. Connie (BCArc) smiles with her painting—framed for an exhibit. u

CATA Supporters

Judy and Tim believe that every person should have opportunities to express themselves. So when Judy attended her first CATA event—a small informal performance—it only took a moment for her to become a CATA superfan.

“I was struck by this explosion of CATA’s power,” says Judy. “The sense of community, the enthusiasm and joy of the artists, and the total dedication and passion of the organization. I was instantly hooked.”

“Judy shared her excitement with me when she came home,” says Tim. “She was blown away by the experience. And I became hooked, as well!” Right away they made their first gift— and they’ve been supporters ever since.

“I can’t say enough how impressive an organization CATA is,” says Judy. “It is just so well run, so focused, and its mission is completely aligned with what we believe.” Judy and Tim believe so much in CATA’s work, they want to help in any way they can. After becoming donors, they joined the Gala Committee—and Judy soon joined CATA’s board.

As residents of Columbia County, Judy and Tim are dedicated to bringing the arts to as many people in the community as possible. Knowing that CATA brings arts programs to special education classrooms across the Berkshires, Judy helped connect CATA with Taconic Hills Central School District to start CATA in Columbia County schools, too.

“That experience really helped me understand how talented CATA’s faculty are—how creative they are and how sensitive they are to the needs of each artist.”

One thing that really stands out for Tim is how CATA kept going in the face of the pandemic—doubling down on their commitment to CATA artists.

“CATA enables people to explore the arts, to be creative, to be confident, and to be empowered. That’s so important—not only for our community, but for humanity.”
Judy and Tim Boomer: “
At CATA, you can see your gift in action every day.”
p Tim and Judy Boomer toast CATA at the Gala and Annual Performance

“During COVID, the world was turned upside down for everyone, but especially for people with disabilities. Not for one moment did CATA say ‘we’ve got to stop.’ CATA worked around every challenge to keep their artists connected. That’s an amazing passion and dedication to their mission.”

In the time that Judy and Tim have been involved, they’ve seen CATA grow by leaps and bounds.

“Never before has the demand for CATA programs been so great,” say Judy and Tim. “Every gift makes a difference and has immediate, tangible results. At CATA, you can see your gift in action every day.”

CATA programs are only possible because of the generosity of people like you. Please make a gift today.

What CATA artists LOVE about programs YOU make possible:

“I’ve been dancing at CATA for a long time. My favorite thing is meeting new friends and seeing old friends!”

“I’m happy at CATA!

I express myself on the canvas and show it to everybody.”

Ethan lets his creativity fly in painting, acting, music, and more.

CATA artist Scott (Leander House) with his painting in CATA’s Annual Art Show. Your support makes CATA happen!

PS: Your gift to CATA could be DOUBLED !

Give now and help unlock a $25,000 Match Challenge for CATA artists

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

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!

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

420 Stockbridge Rd, Suite 2

Great Barrington, MA 01230

(413) 528-5485 ·


Margaret Keller, Executive Director

Jeff Gagnon, Program Director

Kelly Galvin, Program Director

Kara Smith, Program Director

Miranda Nichols, Program Associate

Beth Liebowitz, Dance Faculty & Performance Projects Manager

Wes Buckley, Music Specialist & Faculty Artist

Katie Clarke, Administrative Director

James Totten, Office Manager

Alexandra Heddinger, Development Director

Kate Harding, Development Associate

David Dashiell, Development Associate

Chris Watford, Communications Director


Heather Wells Heim, President

Emily Rechnitz, Vice President

Eva Sheridan, Vice President

Ira Grossman, Treasurer

David Rice, Secretary

Sandra Baron · Judy Boomer

Liz Costley · Carol Glazer

Sarah Hunter · Mindi Morin

Rich Petrino · Elaine Radiss

Carol Riordan · Stephen Shatz

Ben Silberstein · John Whalan

Sandra Newman, Founder

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