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    June 2017 Archive

    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.

    2017 VSA Intersections: Arts and Special Education Conference

    Posted Sunday June 18 2017 at 10:31 pm in Education

    2017 VSA Intersections Conference

    Are you invested in equitable access to art-based and arts-integrated instruction for students with disabilities?

    If so, this conference is a must for you.  VSA Intersections convenes all involved in this venture: general and special educators, arts specialists, teaching artists, principals, nonprofit administrators, education program managers, university professors, policy makers, researchers, and school administrators.  You will find this conference invaluable to your work supporting students with disabilities!/p>

    August 6-7, 2017 in Austin, TX.

    Learn more and register.

    Employee of the Quarter - Teaching Artist Jodi Schmidt

    Posted Sunday June 18 2017 at 4:55 pm in Education

    Jodi Schmidt

    Jodi is a delightful recent addition to the COOL Schools family.  She embodies the essence of what makes COOL Schools successful: she is a strong collaborator and endeavors to teach and inspire ALL students.  When asked how her COOL Schools experience was, a third grader said, "Working with Ms. Jodi changed my life."  This student now wants to teach other students and friends more about art.  Jodi's years of experience as a classroom art teacher and as a teaching artist are ideal.  In fact, the principal and teachers at Ellison Parks Early Education School have been highly impressed with her collaboration skills and ability to engage children collectively and individually.  Jodi ensures that students discover the joys of physically making art, especially in the digital age.

    Meet the Teaching Artist - Mia Branco

    Posted Sunday June 04 2017 at 11:23 pm in Education

    Mia Branco in the classroom

    As a performing artist I use music and stories as a way to create space for interaction, inspiration, and expression.  I enjoy working on projects with unlikely partners and seeing what the arts can unearth.  I believe that by learning how to imagine together, we are better able to create an inclusive reality.

    With strong encouragement from a teacher, my own initiation to art began when I reluctantly joined the backstage crew for a sixth grade musical.  This teacher's encouragement changed the course of my life, and has also made me passionate about providing arts education opportunities for today's youth.  After graduating from American University with a BA in Musical Theatre, in addition to working as an actor and singer in the DC area, I began teaching with Imagination Stage - a wonderful nonprofit for children's arts education.  Through opportunities with Imagination Stage, I began to develop programming for students with disabilities.  Such programs included developing a summer program for students with autism to devise a theatre production, implementing drama programming in 4 different schools serving students with disabilities, as well as becoming the Access Program Coordinator for Imagination Stage.

    Read More →