Article About Charles Washburn Published in Worcester Living

Posted Monday August 10 2009 at 5:31 pm in News

Worcester Living: The Art of Inclusion - Activist Charles Washburn Heads Nonprofit That Weaves the Arts into Special Needs Education

By: Thomas Caywood

As a young arts advocate in Worcester in the 1970s, Charles J. Washburn found himself overcome by a desire to reach out to the most-isolated community he could imagine close at hand: mental patients locked away in the secured wards of Worcester State Hospital.

In what he now concedes was an extravagantly impractical plan, the 20-something activist, not long out of Fairfield University in Connecticut, waded into the state bureaucracy seeking permission from wary hospital administrators to take those patients on a field trip to a rock concert in a city park.

Washburn - who would go on to be one of the founders of First Night Worcester and to run an education nonprofit in Boston - at the time didn't see why he couldn't just find a bus, drive it to the hospital and ferry the mental hospital patients to the concert.

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Henry Butler - "Inclusive By Design" Concert

Posted Sunday May 31 2009 at 9:11 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Henry Butler, a New Orleans piano legend who has been blind since birth, along with visual artist, Nancy Ostrovsky, demonstrate principles of Universal Design in the performing arts.  The creative team includes deaf and hearing ASL interpreters, live captioning, audio description, and Nancy Ostrovsky, painting a mural live on stage.  VSA Massachusetts, in collaboration with WGBH, hosted this live, all-inclusive performance May 26, 2009.