New CATA staff: James Totten and Miranda Nichols

New CATA staff: James Totten and Miranda Nichols

Photo: James Totten (left) and Miranda Nichols (right)

Community Access to the Arts (CATA) announces the appointment of two new full-time staff members. James Totten joins CATA as the organization’s new Office Manager, and Miranda Nichols joins as Program Associate.

In recent years, CATA has dramatically expanded its programs serving people with disabilities. These new staff hires will help CATA deepen community partnerships and seize opportunities to expand inclusive arts workshops and performances for people with disabilities across the Berkshires and Columbia County.

“Now more than ever, CATA’s work is meeting a critical need in our community for people with disabilities,” says Margaret Keller, Executive Director. “We’re thrilled to welcome James and Miranda to our team. CATA continues to expand so that more people with disabilities have the opportunity to express themselves creatively. We’re thrilled to welcome James and Miranda to our growing team. Their extensive experience and skills will fuel our trailblazing work!”

“I’m excited to be part of an organization with an important mission and positive impact on the community,” says James Totten. “Being able to see that impact first hand and work in the arts are huge bonuses for me!”

“I’m committed to the belief that anyone with a desire to create is an artist, that our differences are our unique strengths, and that access to creativity can be a transformative pathway to empowerment,” says Miranda Nichols. “I’m thrilled to join an organization and community that embodies those values every day.”

James Totten (he/him) comes to CATA from Pietra Studio, a brand-building tech start-up in New York, where he served as Manager of Operations and Merchandising. Totten previously served as Marketing Manager and Global Merchandiser with Gap, Inc. and the TJX Companies, Inc. As Office Manager at CATA, Totten will oversee and support all administrative duties in CATA’s fully accessible new building, including an office and two arts studios providing dynamic arts programs for artists with disabilities.

Miranda Nichols (they/them) is a nonbinary illustrator, multi-disciplinary artist, art educator, and yoga instructor. Nichols previously served as a teaching artist in the Education Department at Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, NY and is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In their new role at CATA, Nichols will support CATA’s Program Director team to coordinate a robust series of arts workshops for people with disabilities in partnership with 50 social service agencies, public schools, residences, and nursing homes.

CATA is at an especially exciting stage, with a beautiful new building, robust community partnerships, and expanding programs. CATA has cultivated strong partnerships with 50 community-based organizations, including disability agencies, residences, and schools to serve over 800 people with disabilities through 1,800 annual arts workshops. The nonprofit successfully navigated the challenges of the pandemic financially and artistically, deepening its commitment to artists with disabilities by piloting new art forms, dramatically growing programs for students with disabilities in local schools, and strengthening equity and inclusion initiatives.