Arts In & Arts Out

In this core program, artists with disabilities learn, grow, and find community in sustained arts workshops led by faculty who are are gifted teachers and working artists in the visual and performing arts. Working closely with our program partners, CATA creates workshops that provide stimulating and creative opportunities for our artists to develop new skills and achieve broader goals. These workshops take place across Berkshire County in residences, day habilitation programs, schools, and eldercare settings, as well as in CATA’s own studio in Great Barrington.   

The Art Cart

A CATA Faculty Artist and a CATA artist travel room to room in local nursing homes, sharing songs and stories, as well as a colorful mobile lending library of framed artwork. The Art Cart serves an older population including those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as patients in rehab. Residents become more energetic and animated–in conversation and in movement–creating profound benefits from a therapeutic, creative, and emotional standpoint.

A.R.T. Workshops

Artistic Realizations Technologies (A.R.T.) is an adaptive painting technique developed by Tim Lefens that provides people with severe physical disabilities the opportunity to paint with the assistance of laser pointers and trained trackers acting as the hands of the artist. Lefens says, “When you have no means of expressing yourself, the whole world going on around you, without you, and all of a sudden you can place the exact amount of the exact color you want, where you want it on the canvas, a lifetime of pent up energy comes out through a very concentrated channel.  For the individuals we work with, painting is not recreation. It’s life.”

To download an informational brochure about CATA’s A.R.T. program, Click Here!

CATA Art on Tour

CATA’s visual art is exhibited at museums, galleries, business, and other cultural and community sites throughout Berkshire County and beyond, including Pittsfield City Hall, The Norman Rockwell Museum, and Berkshire Museum.  Art on Tour celebrates CATA visual artists, increasing awareness of the organization and its mission.

CATA in the Schools

This partnership provides CATA Arts In Arts Out workshops to students with disabilities in area high schools. Many of these students to not participate in mainstream art classes and, without CATA, would have no exposure to the arts in their curriculum. In many cases, CATA provides additional support as students transition out of high school, working with special education teachers on I.E.P.’s (Individual Education Plans) and offering continued access to CATA workshops after graduation. Students in high schools represent the next generation of CATA artists.

CATAdirect Crafts Cooperative

CATA artists collaborate with community volunteers to create handcrafted products. Sales of these products provide income in the form of commissions to artists, help fund the program which is offered free to all, and tell the story of CATA’s mission wherever they are sold.

Interested in hosting a CATAdirect party?
Introduce your friends and family to CATA’s unique products in the comfort of your own home. You’ll be supporting CATA in the most fundamental way by personally introducing your guests to the artistry of people with disabilities. We’ll bring the merchandise and everything you need for a fun sales party. Your friends will discover many unique gifts where every purchase supports the CATAdirect program and CATA artists earn commission on sales. Gifts that give back: it’s a win-win!   Call Liana at 413 528-5485 to make arrangements.  

Cultural Access Passport Program

CATA partners with leading cultural venues such as Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Shakespeare & Companyand Berkshire Theatre Groupto provide free tickets to performances in Berkshire County for CATA artists. This program aims to lessen the barriers that can prohibit individuals with disabilities from participating in the cultural bounty of The Berkshires; namely cost, companionship, and transportation.

Special Events

In addition to year-round programs, CATA holds special events that raise public awareness of CATA’s work and give our artists and performers additional opportunities to shine.  CATA’s annual events include a gala and performance at Shakespeare & Company’s Tina Packer Playhouse, the I AM A PART OF ART art show, and a poetry reading.

Below is video footage of CATA’s Annual Gala Performance, on May 14, 2016 at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA.