10:48AM / Tuesday, May 05, 2020
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Community Access to the Arts presents its virtual gala and performance on Saturday, May 9, from 5 to 6 p.m.
The event is free to attend and takes place entirely online here. Prior to the event, CATA launches a weeklong celebration with videos and digital performances beginning Monday, May 4. The celebration culminates in a gala evening, which includes the debut of a short film showcasing the talents of people with disabilities as well as a virtual paddle-raise auction to support CATA programs.
Each May for more than 20 years, CATA has presented a live performance and gala at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox that shares the talents of artists with disabilities in acting, dance, singing, drumming, juggling, and more. When CATA suspended its in-person programs and rehearsals in early March due to the COVID-19 crisis, the organization quickly worked to reinvent their flagship public event as an online performance.
"Even in difficult times, our mission is clear," said CATA Executive Director Margaret Keller. "To bring joy to people with disabilities through the arts — and to share their creative spirit with our community. We knew we couldn't skip that. And the gala is a critical fundraiser for CATA — one-third of our annual budget comes from gala donations."
Since the pandemic began, CATA has launched a series of dynamic online programs to reach people with disabilities isolated by the pandemic. Funds raised from CATA's virtual gala will go to support those programs.
"These online workshops are vital to combating isolation for CATA artists," Keller said. "We need our community's support to sustain programs for people with disabilities, to keep them connected, inspired, and fulfilled. Without those donations, CATA simply can’t happen."
For the gala evening, CATA has been working with local filmmaker Ben Hillman to reinvent their live performance as an imaginative film that will take viewers behind the scenes and share the talents of artists with disabilities. The film will be followed by a virtual paddle-raise auction to raise money for CATA programs.
"It's a unique chance for our audience and supporters to see the work they make possible every day," Artistic Director Dawn Lane said. "Our virtual gala will take viewers behind the scenes and connect them with CATA artists like never before."
CATA’s virtual gala is free and open to the public. Attendees are asked to RSVP here.