June 8, 2018

Seven Hills, WAM ink five-year program to showcase disabled artists

Photo | File
The Worcester Art Museum.

A new partnership between the Worcester Art Museum and Seven Hills Foundation will see the two organizations and its affiliates seek to improve the lives of people with disabilities through arts and culture.

The partnership, announced Thursday, includes the Open Door Gallery at the museum, a gallery space for artists with disabilities. The area overlooks the Stoddard Garden Courtyard from the Higgins Education Wing. The gallery was launched as a pilot in fall 2016.

The gallery will remain for the duration of a five-year partnership between the organizations, including Seven Hills affiliate VSA Massachusetts.

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on Junje 19 at 11 a.m. to celebrate the new space, including a reception for the newest exhibit, "What I See," which features works by 20-year-old autistic man Dominic Killiany.

"As part of our mission to connect people, communities, and cultures through the experience of art, we work constantly to remove barriers -- whether they be physical, intellectual, cultural or financial -- to the Worcester Art Museum's collection and exhibitions," said Matthias Waschek, director of Worcester Art Musuem.

Entrance fees for all participants, caregivers and staff taking part in the program are waived.

According to the museum, more than 500 individuals have participated in the Open Door Gallery in just one year of operation.

In a statement, Seven Hills Foundation President David Jordan said the gallery and partnership is a collaborative response to the need of human services providers to find new and creative ways to serve the disabled.

"This community and employment-first approach is not only a mandate of federal and state funders and the promise of the ADA, it is a basic human right recognized by the United Nations," Jordan said.

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