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Mission & History


Community Access to the Arts nurtures and celebrates the creativity of people with disabilities through shared experiences in the visual and performing arts.

CATA provides innovative arts workshops to people with disabilities in a wide range of genres—painting, drawing, dance, theater, singing, drumming, juggling, yoga, and creative writing—and then shares their artistic creations with the community through our annual performance and year-round art shows. These public events shine a light on the talents of our CATA artists, drawing attention to the ability within disability.

CATA is based on a few groundbreaking ideas: that the arts can transcend difference, that creativity can be embraced by all of us, that tiny moments of connection can lead to tidal transformations.


CATA founder Sandra Newman was working as a dance therapist for adults with disabilities when she was moved to create community through the use of the fine and performing arts. In 1993, she founded Community Access to the Arts (CATA), a non-profit arts organization, with the goal of using the arts as a common ground to connect traditionally underserved populations with the community-at-large.

CATA has grown to over 1,000 workshops annually, actively involving hundreds of individuals from across Berkshire County and offering a model for each of us to be noticed, honored, and embraced for our abilities.

In February 2014, following a three year transition process, Margaret Keller became the Executive Director, bringing 15 years of nonprofit experience to her leadership of CATA.