Celebrating the making of art and the artists who make it is the vital force behind Community Access to the Arts, commonly known as CATA.

CATA’s annual art exhibit & poetry reading, “I Am a Part of Art,” will open on Sunday, July 29 from 2pm-4pm and run through August 30 in the CATA studio gallery at the top of Railroad Street.

The exhibit is the culmination of artwork and poetry from a year of workshops offered to people with disabilities throughout Berkshire County.  CATA’s exemplary work creatively chips away at myths and misconceptions about disability.  Says Dawn Lane, Artistic Director, “CATA is a place where similarities and differences co-exist for the purpose of engaging the imagination.  We don’t make apologies or excuses for people with disabilities; we make art.”

The mediums explored include watercolors, collage, printmaking and  pastels as well as acrylic on canvas from CATA’s A.R.T. workshops. A.R.T. is an innovative painting technique that allows people with severe physical disabilities the opportunity to paint with the help of a human “tracker” acting as the hands of the artist.

CATA’s teaching artists include Adrienne Brown, Pat Hogan, Leslie Klein, Marlene Marshall, Sonia Pilcer, Sarah McNair, Janice Shields, Carol Stroll, Stefanie Weber and Michael Wolski.  Guest readers are Barby Cardillo and Diane Prusha.

“I Am a Part of Art” is funded this year by The Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.  The CATA studio gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.   CATA serves over 500 people with disabilities in Berkshire County, nurturing and celebrating their creativity through shared experiences in the visual and performing arts.  For more information, visit communityaccesstotheARTS.org.