WAE Center Hosts Virtual Art Exhibit for Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance & Inclusion Month
The WAE Center's "Community through Creativity – JDAIM 2021" virtual exhibit (February 5 - March 5, 2021) celebrates the talents and artistry of Jewish adults with developmental disabilities. The exhibit features original prints by eight artists who participate in WAE to Connect online learning program.
By: JSDD WAE Center
The WAE (Wellness, Arts, Enrichment) Center is an adult day program focused on adaptive arts and personal growth. Each February for JDAIM, the Center typically partnered with local congregations to shine a light on the artists, speakers, and worshippers who often go unseen because of their disabilities. The Center set up art exhibits and hosting congregations arranged artist receptions, suppers, and Shabbat services. This year, due to the pandemic, WAE moved its exhibit to a virtual gallery space and is featuring the creative work of artists Erik T., Hiyas S., Kari S., Kevin C., Kristen I., Mark L., and Raven L. The exhibit can be viewed at www.waegallery.org/
WAE Center artists learning remotely
Early in the quarantine when day habilitation centers were ordered to close, the WAE Center moved its in-person classes to an online format called WAE to Connect (WTC). Long-time WAE Center art facilitator Yvette Lucas launched WTC's first art class with kitchen table printmaking using materials readily on hand. Working at her own kitchen table, she "zoomed" with artists who were WAE Center members and JSDD residents.
Students began by exploring monotype, collagraph, and relief printing techniques using wax paper, aluminum foil, cardboard, and Styrofoam as printing plates to create unique and multiple prints. As the WAE to Connect program grew and art supplies were made available, the artists were given Gelli plates (a transparent rubbery surface) that opened new opportunities to explore more creative techniques. "The resulting prints are as distinct, beautiful, and complex as the artists who created them. Equally important, as we all came to feel disconnected from ordinary life, routines, and friends, our class provided a pivotal connection for each member and continues to do so," says Lucas.
About the WAE Center and WAE to Connect
The WAE (Wellness, Arts, Enrichment) Center, a Jewish Service for the Developmentally Disabled (JSDD) service, is an adult day program focused on adaptive arts and personal growth. The Center was founded on the belief and knowledge that each individual possesses the potential for creating a meaningful life, a process the Center calls "Finding the Spark Within." WAE's distinctive, holistic approach is built around tenets including dedication to the individual, unconditional acceptance, promoting self-expression, and embracing diversity and inclusion.
WAE to Connect is an online learning program offering wellness, arts, and enrichment learning opportunities for adults in the special needs community. WTC was established in the weeks and months after Covid-19 forced the shutdown of New Jersey DDD day-habilitation providers. Focused on personal growth and community engagement, WTC recognizes each person is unique and deserves individual attention. The program provides guidance and support, so that each participant can develop a full and rich life of their own making. For more information and to get the complete WTC course list, visit www.waetoconnect.org.
Incorporated in 1996, JSDD of MetroWest, Inc., is a lead multi-purpose agency dedicated to providing an integrated program of community education, advocacy, and services for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. JSDD strives to maximize the potential of individuals with developmental disabilities and promotes opportunities for their integration into the Jewish and general communities. JSDD provides support, services, resources, information, and referrals to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in the MetroWest NJ community and beyond.