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Seven Hills Foundation

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14 2024

Empowering People Through Inclusive Arts Programs

Empowering People Through Inclusive Arts Programs

Posted by Seven Hills Foundation
Jun 14, 2024
Posted by Seven Hills Foundation

ODAThe Linde Family Foundation has awarded Open Door Arts (ODA), an affiliate of Seven Hills, a two-year grant general operating award. This incredibly generous grant will significantly impact the work of ODA, providing high-quality, inclusive, and engaging arts learning opportunities to students with and without disabilities through our school programs and expanding opportunities for career-connected learning for high schoolers with disabilities. Thank you, Linde Family Foundation, for your support and partnership that helps us get closer to our vision of a cultural community that fully represents and includes people with disabilities.

Our shared cultural community is strengthened when it represents, includes, and engages all people. That’s why we work annually with hundreds of students, teaching artists, educators, and leaders of cultural organizations through innovative and inclusive programming, training, events, and exhibits designed to improve access, expand participation, challenge the status quo, and share practices to ensure equitable representation of people with disabilities in the arts.

“Access to and participation in the arts are fundamental human rights that should be available to everyone. Engaging in the arts allows us to get in touch with the deepest places in our souls, express our most profound and complex thoughts and emotions, and explore the common humanity that unites us all.”  Nicole Agois Hurel, Managing Director.

Open Door Arts believes our diverse perspectives, experiences, backgrounds, and identities strengthen us and our organization. We are committed to ensuring that all of our staff, students, artists, and constituents feel welcomed, actively included, valued, and encouraged to be their authentic selves.

Open Door Arts’ School Programs partner with teaching artists and classroom teachers to develop high-quality and accessible arts learning experiences that promote inclusion, support students’ academic, social/emotional, and artistic growth, and deepen engagement through drama, dance, visual arts, music, and media arts. Our School Programs provide inclusive arts education to over 800 students, grades PreK-12 in 8 Boston Public Schools.  That means 3000 hours of learning, creating, engaging, and collaborating in our classrooms!

In Boston and Worcester, our galleries showcase the work of emerging and established artists with disabilities to advance career opportunities, increase visibility and representation, and serve as platforms for the community to have important conversations about disability, identity, and culture.

Through our training and professional development, we coach educators, administrators, artists, and staff from cultural organizations to become more inclusive practitioners, create universally designed programming, and develop policies and practices that encourage meaningful inclusion and participation by people with disabilities. We customize the content and format of our training to support front-of-house staff, ushers, docents, educators, administrative staff, and leadership.

We curate conversations, events, and art-making experiences centered around the narratives of artists with disabilities to challenge assumptions, broaden perspectives, connect communities, and celebrate our common humanity through the arts.

People with acquired brain injury (ABI) participate in monthly social art experiences at the Worcester Art Museum and other community outings designed to help them engage with the world of art through studio experiences and museum visits. High School students from Boston Green Academy and Community Academy of Science and Health came together to celebrate their work in a day-long program at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Through engagement with contemporary art, students' concepts of art expanded as they toured the exhibitions and participated in an art-making workshop. As a statewide collaborator for ArtWeek, we led two events. “Get Cool with the Adams School” engaged the Boston community at the Paris Street Community Center in East Boston, where participants interacted with an art display by Adams Elementary School students and celebrated together by making puppets and collages. In addition, we hosted an interactive photography workshop in conjunction with Tyler Cala Williams’ exhibit opening, where participants took and reworked photos of themselves to reflect how they wanted to be represented.

Media Inquiries

Bill Stock
Vice President for Government and Community Relations 81 Hope Ave, Worcester, MA 01603
Phone: 508.983.1305
Fax: 508.849.3888
Email: bstock@sevenhills.org
Kathleen A. Myshrall
Vice President of Advancement 81 Hope Ave, Worcester, MA 01603
Phone: 508.983.1302
Fax: 508.849.3888
Email: kmyshrall@sevenhills.org
Jennifer Wentworth
Director of Communications 81 Hope Ave, Worcester, MA 01603
Phone: 508.983.1304
Fax: 508.849.3888
Email: jwentworth@sevenhills.org