CATA NEWS Summer 2020

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Summer 2020

You’re Changing Lives Through CATA Stay with us and see what we can do together!

q CATA’s Moving Company dancers give a powerful performance at the virtual gala.

“Pure joy, inspira tion, humanity, and lov e!”

Look What YOU Made Happen for CATA Artists! “Inclusion at its best. I’ve never been prouder to be part of CATA.” When the coronavirus crisis compelled us to reinvent our traditional gala online, we were determined to share the incredible talents of our artists with disabilities with you. We knew you’d be a receptive audience, ready to embark on this new artistic journey. We knew you’d be there for our artists. And were you ever! You and thousands of supporters from around the country tuned in and opened your hearts together—to make change and connection. “In a year where so much is challenging and uncertain,” says Margaret Keller, CATA Executive Director, “CATA supporters decided to stand up and make a difference. It was amazing to watch our community pull together to support CATA artists. Your generosity is keeping our mission going strong.” 2

Because of you, hundreds of people with disabilities are connecting with each other through online arts workshops in dance, singing, painting, juggling, writing, and more. But that’s just the beginning. Your ongoing support is making it possible to expand programs through the summer and beyond, to serve teens, adults, and elders who are still sheltering in place. And when it’s safe for CATA artists to join together again, your generosity will bring them joy through vibrant in-person arts workshops and events. In the following pages, you’ll see some of the ways that your support is already making a difference for CATA artists. Thank you for being part of the CATA movement!

“CATA supporters are heroes. You’re demonstrating that every human being is a natural born artist.” –from the Virtual Gala Guestbook Your gala gifts are launching new virtual programs for people with disabilities. Because of you, hundreds of people across all these towns are benefitting now from 26 weekly CATA workshops: n Williamstow North Adams


Pittsfield Dalton


e Stockbridg Chatham Lee



Great Barri


Egremont Sheffield

photo (middle circle, above) by Christina Lane

Join us in thanking the following local businesses who stood by CATA as underwriters, producers, and sponsors for our virtual gala: Allegrone Companies Blue Q • Greylock Federal Credit Union Berkshire Bank • Berkshire Health Systems • Berkshire Magazine • Merit • MountainOne Apella Capital • Bill Wright Photography • Brava • DP Kelley Painting • Lee Bank • Mezze Catering & Events • Sharon A. Mozian MD PC • Willow Investments for Loving Change

You’re helping CATA artists find joy—and connection—through art. As soon as Eric logs in to his weekly CATA acting workshop, a chorus of voices chimes in to greet him. “HEY ERIC!” He lights up when he sees the faces of his fellow CATA artists on the screen. Soon, another artist logs in and a dozen CATA artists smile and shout. “There’s Cindy! Hi Cindy!” As shops and restaurants begin to reopen, people with disabilities are continuing to shelter in place. Many are vulnerable to COVID-19 and remain separated from friends and family. But thanks to you, CATA artists are finding meaningful connection and creative stimulation in online arts workshops. “Normally our workshops would be winding down for the summer, ” says Dawn Lane, CATA’s Artistic & Program Director. “But this year especially, CATA artists need these programs to stay creative and connected.”

4u Your gift sends creative care packages full of art supplies to people with disabilities.

Since the start of the pandemic, CATA supporters like you have helped launch over 200 programs serving people with disabilities across our community. And your ongoing gifts keep those programs going. “We have 26 different workshops reaching CATA artists every week,” says Jeff Gagnon, CATA’s Program Manager. “Thanks to our supporters, we’re expanding programs into the summer to reach teens, adults, and elders wherever they are.”

t Thanks to you, CATA artists at BFAIR are finding joy in sharing their artwork with each other in online workshops.

For Kelley Kemp and Kris Neep, who work at Berkshire Family & Individual Resources (BFAIR) where many people with disabilities take part in CATA programs, the workshops are about more than just art-making. “It’s about seeing their peers,” says Kelley. “They miss each other. Getting to see one another is the best thing for them right now. It’s really helping them get through this crisis.” “Change is hard for our folks,” adds Kris. “Especially during this time, it’s so important that we keep things as regular as possible. CATA programs are giving them a sense of the normal routines that they’re used to.”

“It’s all about being together. Art helps us communicate.” Eric, who takes acting, creative writing, and painting workshops from home each week, is finding joy in seeing his friends. “It’s been hard not going to CATA,” says Eric. “I miss being with everyone. That’s why the online CATA classes have been good. I get to see people.” Offline, your gifts are making a difference for CATA artists, too. When CATA programs require extra materials—like paint, canvas, or brushes—your gift is helping to deliver care packages of professional art supplies to people with disabilities so they can participate wherever they are. “There was one artist at home that we knew couldn’t access the supplies,” says Kelley. “CATA took the time to mail a package to her. It just made her day.” Now, thanks to supporters like you, she’s connecting with her friends in online workshops each week.

p Your support connects Kelsey (Riverbrook Residence) with her peers in weekly art workshops.

“It’s all about being together,” says Elizabeth Kick, who leads weekly CATA painting workshops. “Art helps us communicate. When CATA artists start to paint and get in the flow, that’s when they really start to connect. All of a sudden you hear humming, or someone singing to themselves. And then the chit chat starts: ‘Hey Dennis! How’s it going?’ They’re really taking advantage of these workshops to connect and relate.” For the artists in Elizabeth’s workshop, one of the best parts comes at the end. That’s when each artist takes a turn holding up and sharing their work. “They’re so proud of what they’ve done,” says Kelley. “The smiles are just priceless.” “CATA is connecting all our individuals during this difficult time,” says Kris. “And seeing their smiles makes a big difference for us, too. It makes it all worthwhile.”

Your gifts connect CATA artists with their talents—and the community. Please visit and give today.


For artists unable to use a paintbrush,

You’re Making Art Possible. John Chapdelaine “Achoo!” (2019)

“Ready?” said CATA Faculty Artist Stefanie Weber, as she pulled a strip of tape from the edge of a big canvas. “Here we go!” CATA artist Ray sat in his wheelchair next to her. Last fall, your generosity gave Ray the opportunity to paint for the first time using an adaptive method known as Artistic Realization Technologies (A.R.T.). Once the paint dried, Ray was eager to see the results.

“For fifteen years, CATA supporters have made it possible for people with disabilities to tap into their creative spirit using this innovative technique,” says Kara Smith, CATA’s Program Coordinator. “Back & Forth highlights fifteen of those artists. Some were pioneers in learning the A.R.T. technique alongside our faculty at the very beginning, and some have just started.”

“There it is,” said Stefanie, as she stepped away for Ray to see. “Your first painting.” “WOAH!” shouted Ray, beaming with joy. “I LOVE IT! I love it, I love it!” Now, Ray’s painting is featured in CATA’s first-ever virtual art exhibit, Back & Forth. Thanks to your generosity, this one-of-a-kind art show is bringing the talents of artists like Ray to the wider community. The A.R.T. technique was developed by artist Tim Lefens to give full creative control to people with significant physical disabilities who cannot hold or manipulate a paintbrush. With the help of a laser pointer and a trained “tracker”—a person who acts as the artist’s hands—CATA artists can control every aspect of the painting process, from the size of the canvas, to the color of the paint and the movement of the brush. 6

p Thanks to you, CATA artists like Cathy (BCArc) are tapping into their talents in adaptive painting workshops—and now, sharing their artistry in our first-ever online art exhibit.

CATA artist Cathy Crofut was one of those pioneers, who first started working with the A.R.T. technique 15 years ago. Since then, her work has been privately commissioned and displayed at the Norman Rockwell Museum, Berkshire Museum, and Clark Art Institute.

“Painting helps me get my emotions out on paper,” says Cathy, who participates in CATA programs through Berkshire County Arc (BCArc). “I’m happy when I paint, and I’m proud of my accomplishments.” “A big highlight for CATA artists every year is seeing their artwork framed and hanging in an art gallery,” says Kara. “Since we can’t be together for a traditional art show, we’re bringing the talents of CATA artists to life online, with behind-the-scenes videos, interviews, and more.”

And each painting is available for sale— which means you can bring vibrant CATA art into your home or office! Every work sold provides a commission to the individual artist and supports year-round programs for artists with disabilities. “We are always struck by the freshness and originality of each A.R.T. painting,” says CATA Executive Director Margaret Keller. “Each artist has their own distinctive sense of color and composition. And each is telling their own story in their work. We’re grateful to CATA supporters for shining a light on the talents of artists with disabilities through this exhibit.” Thanks to your gifts from the virtual gala, we’re now experimenting with online A.R.T. workshops. We can’t wait to share more about this over the next few months!

David Gardner “Willy-Wonka” (2018)

Your Guide to CATA’s Virtual Art Exhibit:

“Back & Forth” What is it?

Back & Forth celebrates vibrant paintings by artists with disabilities who use the adaptive “A.R.T.” technique. Back & Forth is just like the year-round CATA art exhibits you love—except it’s ALL ONLINE! Our exhibit website is full of videos and photos to connect you with the artists and share the creativity you’re making possible.

How do I see it?

Simply go to You can’t miss it—right at the top of our page. The exhibit is available to view now through August 2020. Plus, it’s free!

And don’t forget: each painting is available for sale!

Buy a piece of CATA art for your home or office and support CATA artists. Prices range from $220 to $420, with most works about 24 x 36 inches. For more information, call CATA at (413) 528-5485.

Back & Forth is sponsored by:

Visit today to view the exhibit. Your gifts made it happen! Mungy Studios, Frames on Wheels, Berkshire Magazine, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and YOU, our supporters!

Being part of CATA: “The biggest

energy booster you can get!” For donor Eleanore Velez, giving to CATA “reminds us of our humanity.” “I always think CATA is like a wonderful secret that doesn’t need to be a secret,” says Eleanore Velez, admissions counselor and coordinator of the Multicultural Center at Berkshire Community College—and a passionate CATA supporter.

“To be part of CATA and witness something so powerful—and to know that your contribution makes it happen. It’s the biggest energy booster you can get.” It’s that sense of opportunity that drew Eleanore to CATA more than 5 years ago. “CATA helps people with different abilities find joy and pleasure in an artistic way. It’s serving a population that sometimes we don’t even give a chance because we come with certain limitations ourselves.” “I’ve always thought it was a very important thing to support CATA,” says Eleanore. “And now it’s more important than ever. If we look at what our new life looks like, in isolation and under COVID-19, it reminds us of our intrinsic humanity. Of our need for artistic expression.”

p Your gift of any size supports creativity and connection for CATA artists like Connie.

And for Eleanore, it’s not about how much you can give. It’s about being part of a movement and making a difference together. “I know there are people who have the ability to give much more than I can. But I can give something. If we all contribute, even if it’s small—we really make a difference.” “For anyone in our community that can give a little bit, it’s very important and very welcomed. Now, more than ever, when we feel so disconnected and unable to help— this is a wonderful opportunity to give a little that matters a lot. Our collective contributions do make a big difference.”

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

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


CATA has a new address! Please update your records.


Please make a gift today. We need your support to continue bringing programs to CATA artists in this time of unprecedented need.

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

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