Community Access to the Arts, Inc. Reviews
CATA is a leader organization; its mission is embodied (embedded) in every interaction and activity I've witnessed between participants and their community. Core values of dignity, warmth and respect drive their work and their vision for artistic achievement. They strive to break down stigma and create community in which everyone is welcome; everyone's participation is seen as important and is celebrated. CATA is innovative and invigorating.. whether you're just there to watch, or to join in.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
My visits as an observer (filmmaker) showed me how powerful the mission in action can be; especially when I watched a young (blind) woman learn to tap dance, and then later perform that dance for a huge theater audience - what a marvelous process, and moment of personal triumph.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
There aren't any changes I can think of to suggest at this time.. they seem to be getting better and smarter as an organization each year. I'm always impressed with CATA.
We have been supporters of CATA for about four years. We have been impressed with the way we have been appreciated and welcomed into the CATA community. The staff are the most warm, loving, caring people we have ever met. We are sponsoring some the members of the community and have been invited to watch them in their classes. We have been able to see first hand how our contributions have helped others.
They have the BEST benefit in the Berkshires because it includes so many of the CATA recipients. It really makes you feel there are no limits to what everyone can accomplish if given the opportunity.
I ( Steffie) attended a workshop this summer with volunteers and members of the CATA community. We made a felt mural which will hang in a public location in GT. Barrington. The spirit of the whole team was so high and happy. I was teamed up with a woman named Betsy. It really made me feel so good to be able to work with Betsy and to get to know her and other participants.
We also attended a Jacob's Pillow show and there were many CATA members there. The spirit and inclusion of everyone is contagious. Thank goodness for CATA!!
Stephanie and Bob Gittleman
CATA is a well managed, effective organization dedicated to bringing the world of the arts to mentally challenged members of the Berkshires community. From creative writing and painting to dance and theater (yes, even Shakespeare), CATA is dedicated to participation and inclusion. Their annual showcase, a must-attend event, offers a sample of the unique talents of CATA artists. Awestruck audiences, regularly shed joyful tears after witnessing this special event. I know.
I have been volunteering in the CATA Direct workshops for a few years now, and it is the highlight of my week. There is such a sense of community as people of every ability gather around the workshop tables. Mostly, we have great days where we sing, laugh and tease one another, while creating beautiful crafts and works of art to share with the world. Once in awhile we have moments of tension that need to be worked through, and we do that with grace, compassion and true respect for one another.
CATA levels the playing field for all of us; in workshops, we are all learning new skills which may be easy or difficult for us. I can honestly say that I have learned as much from CATA as I have brought to the table, if not more.
I absolutely love being involved with this organization, and can only sing it's praises!
My experience with CATA is mostly as a volunteer. I had the privilege of working with CATA direct for 1 years. My community members that I brought to Cata were looking forward all week to their workshop, and did and still does consider this the best part of their week.
They learned felting, jewelry making etc.
Most wonderful though were the art classes. Having amazing artists as teachers who were able to discover and magnify their talents.
I love their work, and have quite a collection of their stunning oil paintings.
Grow and prosper CATA.
For almost 8 years I have had the privilege of serving on the Board of Directors for Community Access to the Arts. What I give of myself is so small in comparison to what I have received from this organization. The participants and the joy they bring to others through their art is so very heartwarming and important!!
I was lucky enough to intern at CATA for almost a full school year and witness the immense positive impact CATA programs have on all people involved. It only takes stepping into the office to feel welcomed and included, and to me this was the most special part of being in the CATA family - seeing people of all ability levels learn from each other, nurture each other and be nurtured. CATA builds a community that truly embodies its mission and does not turn its back on anyone. There are amazing workshops, teachers and a spirit that inspires creativity and appreciation for all things that are art. The kind of support found here is unlike that of any other non-profit, because it extends past the hours of CATA programs - the people here really love the work that they do and the people that they work for and with - and it shows. The artists with disabilities are valued members of the CATA team and treated with real respect. For me, it was really the first time I saw people with disabilities being treated as capable adults rather than children. One class I was in, I remember one of the artists saying, "I wish the rest of the world treated me like a person too." Really opened my eyes. What CATA does, at the heart of it, is simple - values individuals who aren't usually taken seriously by the rest of our society. What a beautiful job they do! Incredible environment, stunning art and writing and some of the kindest, most interesting people you'll meet. Everyone involved in this important work grows from the experience.
CATA's workshops at Blue Q continue to be amazing. We employ a staff of fifteen people through Berkshire County ARC, and we've learned through CATA everyone of them's a true artist in some manner. CATA's programming is creative and life changing, with wide-ranging benefits to our community at large.
CATA is also SO capably run, by a lean, resourceful, crazy-talented team that makes every dollar count!!
One of the most important arts orgs on the local map!!!
Community Access to the Arts has, over the years, provided an inspiring and enduring model to everyone who has come in contact with its artists, programs, staff, and volunteers, about what it means to be a caring and loving community. This community is built upon the belief that every person is precious and capable, regardless of circumstance. Imagine what our world would look like if there were a CATA in every community on the planet.
I had the great privilege of "inadvertently" volunteering at a fiber arts workshop for CATA in the summer of 2014. The context of my visit was to meet several CATA staff members for the first time as I learned more about the organization. The environment was so infectiously positive, I found myself in a volunteer role without having planned to volunteer. I was truly impressed by the authentic relationships and deep respect that existed between the community artists, volunteers, and staff at the workshop. It was clear to me that CATA was serving an important need in the community. I look forward to continuing to be involved with CATA as time progresses.