Earlier this year, the Colleges were recognized by the Arc of Schuyler County for their outstanding efforts to make a difference for people with disabilities throughout the region. A family-based organization providing supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the Arc of Schuyler County announced the award as part of the organization’s Annual Report and during their annual meeting and awards ceremony held in Watkins Glen.
The Colleges have partnered with the Arc of Schuyler County since 2010, when Hobart and William Smith and the Collaborative of the Finger Lakes coordinated to create The ARTS Experience: a festival celebrating inclusion and the arts.
The ARTS Experience invites it participants – including those with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, the college community, and the general public – to explore various means of expression through the arts. Through workshops on dance, the performing arts, filmmaking, painting, photography and more, the two-week festival is a vibrant celebration of inclusion and artistic expression.
“This festival is a clear demonstration that collaboration among organizations providing supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and institutions of higher education can identify common interests and offer mutual benefit,” remarked Executive Director Jeannette Frank. “Students learn the value of diversity and people with developmental disabilities have the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and be part of a vibrant community.”
Assistant Professor of Education Mary Kelly accepted the award on behalf of the Colleges. Kelly has been a major participant in the collaboration, not only serving as a main coordinator of the festival, but working with her students to help adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities gain access to technology – particularly to those with limited opportunities to access equipment. Kelly was singled out for her dedication to the Arc and the ARTS Experience festival.
In a letter of gratitude to the Colleges, Thomas O’Mara, New York State Senator of the 53rd District, offered his congratulations. “I’m grateful for this chance to thank you for your ongoing commitment to providing opportunities for people with disabilities to share their talents and their dedication in remarkable ways,” wrote O’Mara.
To learn more about the Arts Experience: a festival celebrating inclusion and the arts, visit http://www.hws.edu/festival/.