Who We Are

Community Access to the Arts nurtures and celebrates the creativity of people with disabilities through the arts.

Through dynamic arts workshops in painting, dance, theater, singing, drumming, juggling, yoga, creative writing, and more, CATA artists tap into their potential, explore new talents, and share their unique points of view. Public events including our annual performance and year-round art exhibits bring our whole community into the act, shining a light on the ability within disability.

This is what we know:

The arts can foster inclusion.

Creativity can be embraced by all of us.

Tiny moments of connection lead to tidal transformations!

CATA’s vision of inclusion takes work. Our arts workshops take place weekly so that our artists have the chance to build on their talents, class after class. We forge strong partnerships with other organizations—social service agencies, day-habilitation programs, residences, and schools—so we can reach as many people with disabilities as possible. We hire professional faculty who are working artists themselves to lead our programs—because that’s what CATA artists deserve. And, we work closely with prominent cultural organizations to showcase the talents of our CATA artists for our whole community, in art exhibits, performances, and poetry readings.

 

CATA is about creating the community we all believe in: one that recognizes the value of ALL of its members.

 

With your support, we’re creating a vibrant, joyously creative, and inclusive community. You make CATA possible!

52

Program Partners

1000

Artists With Disabilities

2200

Workshops Annually

CATA artists hold hands above their heads in a dance class

History

While working as a dance therapist for adults with disabilities, CATA founder Sandra Newman was inspired to strengthen community through the arts. In 1993, she founded Community Access to the Arts (CATA), a non-profit arts organization that gives people with disabilities powerful opportunities to express themselves creatively and share their talents with the public.

 

Beginning with one workshop in 1993, CATA has since grown to over 1,800 workshops annually, actively involving hundreds of individuals and many partner organizations from across Berkshire and Columbia counties.

 

Following a three year transition process, Margaret Keller became Executive Director in 2014, and CATA has continued to flourish. In 2020, the organization harnessed its exceptional community support to complete a highly successful capital campaign and create a beautiful, fully accessible arts center in Great Barrington, MA. The building now serves as the nonprofit’s home base, where CATA artists come for workshops in dedicated studios for the visual and performing arts, and where staff work to coordinate programs at partner organizations throughout the Berkshires and Columbia County, NY.