Eileen Murray remembers when she was first interviewed for a job as a painting facilitator in Matheny’s Arts Access Program. It was 2001, and she was so excited about the possibility of working in the program, she thought, “I hope they hire me, because I’m just going to show up for work.” Fortunately, Murray was hired, and, in 2011, was named director of the program. On March 27th, she received an award as Outstanding Professional in the Arts from Morris Arts at its annual Celebrate the Arts event.
Arts Access provides people with disabilities the freedom to create in the visual, literary and performing arts. Tom Werder, executive director of Morris Arts, introduced Murray, saying that she “is committed to enriching the lives of people with disabilities.” Murray, pointing out that all Arts Access artists have physical disabilities, added that, “the work they create is astounding. I am so lucky to work with these tremendously talented artists.”
Other awardees were: Dr. James Gallagher; the Lauren & Emily Failla Foundation; John Pietrowski, artistic director of Playwrights Theatre; teaching artist Joanna Pang Atkins; MetLife Foundation; and Zufall Health Center. Morris Arts, located in Morristown, NJ, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enriching the community through the arts.