Seventh Annual Arts Experience Festival – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Seventh Annual Arts Experience Festival

The seventh annual Arts Experience, a festival celebrating inclusion and the arts, will gather HWS and community members from across the region to engage in activities and events built around this year’s theme of “Generations: Art of All Ages.” The festival, which runs from Friday, April 1 through Friday, April 8, will explore intergenerational connection and artistic expression.

Facilitated through a partnership between HWS and the Collaborative of the Finger Lakes, The Arts Experience is an opportunity for participants, including people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, the HWS community and the public to explore various means of expression through the arts. The Collaborative of the Finger Lakes is a network of 12 NYSARC, Inc. chapters providing support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

This year, the Festival has a youth focus with increased participation from the Boys and Girls Club of Geneva, Hillside Children’s Club, and West Street School, and also expanded participation of seniors and adults with developmental disabilities.

“Opportunities like working side by side on an art project, or saying hello in the dining hall, help us understand each other’s experiences, gain insight from each other’s lives, appreciate each other’s strengths, abilities and interests, and hopefully make each of us a bit more aware of the role we can play toward contributing to a more inclusive world,” says Associate Professor of Education Mary Kelly, a co-coordinator of the festival.   

The Festival is broken into 23 workshops led by art instructors from NYSARC agencies, HWS faculty and staff, and local community members. The workshops will be held at the Boys and Girls Club at the Geneva Community Center and on the HWS campus in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center, the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts and the Katherine D. Elliott Studio Arts Center.

Kelly explains that instructors and artists were asked to consider the “generations” theme when developing arts workshops. A number of this year’s activities also overlap with this year’s Community Read emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease, focusing on memory and cognition.

A sampling of this year’s workshops includes: “Shared Stories: Memory Quilt,” taught by Natalie Reichel from United Cerebral Palsy of NYC; “The Personality Self-Box Project,” taught by Christian Lersch and Liz Hedger of Ontario ARC Creative Expressions Art Program; and “Creative Movement,” taught by Associate Professor of Dance Cadence Whittier.  

All artwork will be displayed at the Arts Experience Gala on Friday, April 8, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center. The Gala will include a live performance from the band FLAME, an interactive movement chorus performance, and live painting, among other entertainment.

A full schedule of workshops and more information about the Festival is available here. All events are free, wheelchair accessible, and open to the public.

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