"Disability Issues" Publishes "VSA MA's COOL Schools Program" by Nicole Agois Hurel

Posted Wednesday July 12 2017 at 3:08 pm in Education

Student holding his clock artwork

VSA Mass. COOL Schools Director Nicole Agois Hurel recently wrote a piece for Disability Issues which discusses our Creative Outlook On Learning program.  The full article is reproduced below and you can find the full issue here.  Disability Issues is a publication of Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and archived issues going back to 2007 are available here.

Ever think about what role the arts can play in supporting learning and inclusion?  Recently, a third grader named Shantel told us all about how she experienced this while learning how to make a clock.  A teaching artist had worked alongside her teacher to help her and her classmates with and without disabilities engage with their math curriculum through the visual arts.  As she worked on measuring, estimating and calculating to build this clock with her own hands, she experienced a new sense of accomplishment, creativity and a new appreciation for how math is a part of her everyday life.

Shantel is just one of approximately 1,600 children and youth who participate in the VSA Massachusetts' COOL Schools program each year.  Essentially, COOL Schools transforms classrooms into creative spaces with increased opportunities for imagination, physical engagement, and play within in the learning process.  COOL has brought schools a Creative Outlook On Learning for over 35 years.  By supporting partnerships where teaching artists and classroom teachers teach together using the arts, COOL creates opportunities for children with a wide range of abilities to learn and thrive in school.

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Call for Art - "Breaking Barriers" hosted by Mass. Office on Disability

Posted Wednesday July 05 2017 at 5:13 pm in Call For Artists

MOD Call for Art Flier

The Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) is now accepting submissions for its 2017 Call for Art and juried art exhibition.  We are calling on talented Massachusetts residents of all abilities to submit their original artwork.

Selected entries will be displayed at a public exhibition at the Massachusetts State House in late 2017 and in an online gallery.

A central purpose in this exhibition is to showcase the talent of Commonwealth residents and to present works to the public that will raise awareness of and challenge the barriers and stigma that persons with disabilities may encounter.  Artists who enter the Call for Art will have an opportunity to gain statewide exposure and recognition in addition to experiencing the process of entering their work for consideration for display in a juried art show.

Part of the inspiration for this exhibition relates to a piece of artwork currently displayed in MOD created by Maurice "Pops" Peterson, Artist in Residence of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD).  His work, "Freedom from Shame", shown above, artistically captures the theme of "Breaking Barriers" through its depiction of an athlete with a disability in a moment of victory and celebration.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: August 1, 2017

Jury: Five individuals including our very own Charles J. Washburn and our good friend Marian Brown of Arts Connect International.

For complete information, visit the mass.gov webpage.



Fashion Accessibility Project

Posted Monday June 19 2017 at 3:12 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Woman model

2015 marked the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  This milestone sparked a conversation with Epicenter Community members with disabilities that explored what has changed in the past 25 years.  The sentiment was that persons with disabilities remain virtually invisible in society and sense of inclusion is lacking.  Many of the events celebrating 25 years were focused on disability, workforce developments & workplace accessibility.

To flip the script, Epicenter vowed to launch a series celebrating the beauty, humanity and innovative fashion design.  Four amazing designers will design custom and fully functional pieces for models with a range of disabilities to highlight the importance of inclusive and accessible fashion.

Designers Ray Grand of Ray Grand Apparel, Joelle Fontaine of I Am Kreyol, Peda Edouard of Mathmatik Athletics and Jay Calderin of Boston Fashion Week will be designing custom pieces for our amazing models Heather Watkins, Keith Jones, Donald Washington, Cheri Blauwet, Eli Wolff, Laura Ferrone, Marty Harris, Brooks Bard, Jessica Mayer and Hailey Boyan!

Presented by Epicenter Community and Arts Emerson, in partnership with VSA Massachusetts and many others, the fashion show will take place this coming Saturday, June 24, 2017 (doors open at 5pm, show starts at 6pm) in the Emerson Paramount Center Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theater.  Reserve your free tickets here.