Arts Access to Receive Leadership Award


Matheny’s Arts Access Program  will receive a Leadership Award from the Cultural Access Network Project (CAN),  a program of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.  The award, “for enabling people with disabilities to express themselves with true creative liberty, and to share their works with the public,” will be presented as part of a day-long CAN Awards event being held June 18 at the Grounds for Sculpture in Trenton, NJ.

aa cultural access network

Arts Access enables theatre artists with disabilities to develop plays, working with professional actors. From left in back, actors Heather Kelley, Samuel Stricklen and Cara Gansk of Premiere Stages; in front, playwright Tatyana Manousakis, Arts Access performing arts coordinator Burt Brooks, and playwright Cheryl Chapin. (photo by Jerry Dalia).

The Arts Access Program uses a unique method to ensure complete creative ability of its artists, most of whom are in wheelchairs and have limited mobility of their arms and legs; many are also non-verbal. Facilitators, who are trained artists, work with the Arts Access artists to execute the artwork they envision, whether it’s painting, choreography, playwriting or other disciplines. Matheny, said Eileen Murray, director of Arts Access, is “thrilled and honored to be receiving the Leadership Award. The fact that a program such as CAN exists here in New Jersey is a sign that the future of arts and disability is a bright one.”