Seven Hills Foundation and its affiliate, Open Door Arts, enjoy a unique and robust partnership with the Worcester Art Museum (WAM). Pulling from its collective resources and expertise, the partnership provides access to the arts and promotes inclusion for people with disabilities. Five years ago, the first gallery dedicated exclusively to exhibiting the work of artists with disabilities opened in this world-class art museum. Since its inception, the Open Door Gallery (ODG) @ WAM has exhibited the work of dozens of artists through individual and group exhibits that welcomed hundreds of visitors. The fantastic team of WAM educators leads studio art programs that are accessible through virtual and in-person classes and have engaged over 150 artists with disabilities, many of whom participate in Seven Hills ASPiRE! day programs.
In these past five years, the Worcester Art Museum has continued to solidify its unwavering commitment to the disability community, making significant strides to improve the accessibility of its physical facilities and programs. Seven Hills and ODA are profoundly grateful for their efforts, which have included the addition of an accessible restroom and a ramp with a switch-operated door in the Higgins Wing, where the gallery is located. In return, ODA staff has provided professional development to WAM docents and educators on inclusive practices to support visitors and participants with disabilities.
Seven Hills and ODA have recently convened with WAM to envision the next phase of this work, celebrating what has been accomplished and laying the groundwork for the growth and expansion of programs and services with increased opportunities for learning, art making, and exhibiting for people with disabilities.
Seven Hills, Open Door Arts, and the Worcester Art Museum are grateful to the foundations that have nurtured our partnership: