Kelly Galvin Joins CATA As Co-Program Director

Kelly Galvin Joins CATA As Co-Program Director

Community Access to the Arts (CATA) is proud to announce the appointment of Kelly Galvin as a Program Director.
Kelly Galvin joins current CATA staff members Jeff Gagnon and Kara Smith, who have been promoted to the Program Director position, to create a new three-person arts leadership team at the nonprofit, reporting to the organization’s Executive Director, Margaret Keller. 

CATA strategically restructured staff roles to develop a shared program leadership model, following the retirement of long-time staff member Dawn Lane, coupled with vigorous growth in CATA’s arts programs serving people with disabilities. The organization is at an especially exciting stage, with a beautiful new building, robust community partnerships, and expanding programs. The new three-person arts leadership team will work closely with Executive Director Margaret Keller to seize opportunities and provide inclusive arts programs for people with disabilities across the Berkshires and Columbia County.

Kara Smith, Kelly Galvin, and Jeff Gagnon—CATA’s new Program Director team

Kelly Galvin joins CATA as an accomplished director, producer, and teaching artist. Kelly has been a company member with Shakespeare & Company since 2008 and served as the Artistic Associate at WAM Theatre. As a director and producer, she has led acclaimed productions at Shakespeare & Company, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, The Theater at Woodshill, and Gloucester Stage, and assisted at regional theatres including the Guthrie and Asolo Repertory Theatre. Kelly is the founder of
the rig, an organization in Western Massachusetts working to create connections through the arts and to redistribute cultural resources to a larger portion of the community.

Kelly Galvin on stage with artists during Annual Performance

Kelly Galvin (left) joins CATA as co-Program Director

CATA’s new trio of Program Directors will work collaboratively to expand opportunities for local artists with disabilities and to nurture and build partnerships with community-based organizations, with each director leading specific projects and initiatives: Kelly will oversee performing arts programs for artists with disabilities and will direct performances showcasing the talents of CATA artists, including CATA’s annual gala performance. Kara Smith will oversee programs and partnerships connected with CATA’s Studios in Great Barrington and lead visual art events, including exhibits at local galleries, museums, and community spaces. Jeff Gagnon will oversee CATA’s programs and partnerships for students with special needs in local schools, which have more than tripled over the last five years.

“This new shared leadership model will allow CATA to build on dramatic recent growth and provide more programs for artists with disabilities,” says Margaret Keller, CATA Executive Director. “CATA engaged in a rigorous hiring process, in partnership with the search firm TSNE, rooted in intensive training that we have pursued in HR practices and in equitable hiring and recruitment. I am thrilled to announce that now, as the culmination of this work, CATA has hired Kelly onto our team as a new Program Director. Kelly has extensive experience as a director, teacher, producer, and artistic administrator: She is an innovative theatremaker and stage director, and she has a deep commitment to relationship-building, collaboration, equity, and inclusion in her work as a community-focused artist-educator. We feel very lucky to have her taking on this new and important role at CATA. With this trio leadership model, we see exciting potential for new program levels and art forms, new performances of all scopes and sizes, and cross-disciplinary explorations in workshops and public events.”

“I’m overjoyed to be part of the CATA team and to support their remarkable arts programming,” says Kelly Galvin. “The work here exemplifies the profound impact that arts can have in a community. Being both an audience and faculty member at CATA has been artistically and personally transformative, and has fueled my passion for cultivating art that’s based in equity. I’m honored to join this leadership team and have the opportunity to contribute to this work, and I’m especially excited to collaborate with the faculty, community partners, and vibrant artists that call CATA home.”

In recent years, CATA has dramatically expanded its programs, scope, and impact, cultivating robust partnerships with 50 community-based organizations, including disability agencies, residences, and schools to serve over 800 people with disabilities through 1,500 annual arts workshops. Programs focus especially on people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, autism, and brain injuries–historically among the most underserved groups in the arts–and are taught by a professional faculty of talented teaching artists, all experts in their artistic fields.

CATA successfully navigated the challenges of the pandemic financially and artistically, deepening its commitment to artists with disabilities by piloting new art forms, strengthening equity and inclusion initiatives, and developing innovative online programming including a virtual gala performance attended by over 2,000 supporters and community members.

About Community Access to the Arts: Community Access to the Arts (CATA) nurtures and celebrates the creativity of people with disabilities. Through dynamic arts workshops and public events, CATA artists tap into their potential, explore new talents, and share their unique points of view with the wider community. CATA collaborates with 50 partner organizations to bring visual and performing arts programs to 800 people with disabilities across Berkshire County, Massachusetts and Columbia County, New York.