June 6, 2018
Contact: Chris Watford
(413) 528-5485
Images and book excerpts available upon request

CATA PUBLISHES FIRST-EVER ART AND POETRY BOOK “YOU CAN’T REPLACE YOURSELF”—A Vivid Collection Celebrating Artists and Writers with Disabilities

GREAT BARRINGTON, MA—Community Access to the Arts (CATA) has published its first-ever collection of artwork and poetry—You Can’t Replace Yourself—featuring work by 46 artists and writers with disabilities. CATA celebrates the release with a Book Launch event at the CATA Studio in Great Barrington, MA on June 12 from 4:30-6:30pm.

You Can’t Replace Yourself is a window into the lyrical and deeply felt work of writers and artists with disabilities. It draws from twenty-five years of poems, paintings, and drawings created in CATA’s weekly arts workshops. From touching observations and fantastic dreams, to tender musings on love, life, and hairdryers, You Can’t Replace Yourself is a moving collection that honors the individual voices of people with disabilities.

“As we celebrate CATA’s 25th anniversary, we wanted to explore new ways of sharing our artists’ vibrant work with our wider community,” says Margaret Keller, CATA’s Executive Director. “Each page of this book pairs a powerful poem by a CATA writer with a vivid painting or drawing by a CATA artist. We had the great fun of sifting through a vast archive of artwork–25 years of paintings!–to find the perfect visual ‘soulmate’ for each poem. Together, the artful pairings reflect a kaleidoscope of CATA creativity, with a wide range of voices and tones– poignant, reflective, funny, insightful.”

Poets included in the book take part in CATA’s weekly Writers’ Workshop. Since 2005, CATA writers have explored creative and expressive poetic forms, with prompts aimed at amplifying each individual’s voice and unique perspective. CATA faculty offer an inventive curriculum to help writers tap into their own style, while CATA “scribes” work with some writers to help them commit their ideas to paper. The paintings and drawings throughout the book represent a small portion of the revelatory artwork created by CATA artists with disabilities during the past twenty-five years.

The Book Launch –to be held June 12 at CATA’s Studio in Great Barrington, MA from 4:30-6:30pm–will include a reading of selections from the book, read by CATA writers with disabilities as well as CATA writing faculty and other supporters. A reception and book signing will follow. Books will be available for sale and several of the artists and writers will be in attendance to sign copies.

You Can’t Replace Yourself reflects the collaborations and community spirit at the heart of CATA’s work. The project was sponsored by generous contributions from CATA supporters, including underwriting from Stephanie and Robert Gittleman. Cover and book design was created by publishing industry veterans Tracy Mack and Marijka Kostiw. Featured poets and artists represent over 15 program partners–agencies, day programs, schools, and residences that CATA works with to serve 700 people with disabilities annually.

About Community Access to the Arts: Now in its 25th year, Community Access to the Arts (CATA) nurtures and celebrates the creativity of people with disabilities through shared experiences in the visual and performing arts. To learn more about CATA programs and events, visit​