The fourth annual festival celebrating inclusion and the arts has kicked off at Hobart and William Smith, with events running through Friday, April 19. Working with the Finger Lakes Institute, organizers have created a program focusing on water’s importance and power as well the many challenges currently threatening the world’s water.
Included in the festival’s celebrations are Global Water Dances choreographed by Associate Professor of Dance Cadence Whittier. Lucy Bowen McCauley, an established choreographer based out of Washington, D.C., will instruct inclusive dance workshops. Bowen McCauley, with her dance troupe, has led many classes for those with Parkinson’s disease. In addition to the workshops, the celebration will include other dances, performances, as well as Zumba classes.
“There really aren’t any other programs like this that incorporate so many communities,” says Assistant Professor of Education Mary Kelly. “This festival just resonates. I love that HWS is such an inclusive space for folks with disabilities, a place to find inclusive experience around the arts. The program keeps blossoming, and people are constantly finding new meaning in what we are doing and in the arts.”
Among the artists who will perform and lead workshops is Catherine Branch, a renowned flautist from the Eastman School of Music. Branch, who started the organization Music of Difference, has diplegic cerebral palsy and uses music to integrate disability advocacy and the arts. Also joining the festival is Matt Giordano, a renowned percussionist who studied with the lead percussionist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and directs his own company, Drum Echoes. Matt will lead an inclusive percussion session and perform at the closing gala.
The event will also include a film screening of nationally acclaimed documentary “Who Cares About Kelsey?” followed by a Q&A with director Dan Habib and film subject, Kelsey Carroll.
Inspired by the documentary “Wretches and Jabberers,” the “Autism around the World; The Travels of Wretches and Jabberers” program will include a discussion with audience members in response to a series of film clips from the acclaimed documentary. This will be facilitated by Lauren Shallish ’05, Fernanda Orsati, and Jenn Seybert.
There are also a number of new arts projects; more than 20 new and exciting proposals for the visual arts were received for this year’s event.
A full schedule of events is available online.
The festival is co-sponsored by Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the Collaborative of the Finger Lakes, Inc. a network of 12 NYSARC, Inc. chapters providing supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.