Arts Access 2020

A Year in Review
Facilitator holds up texture board for artist on iPad

A Year in Review

This year was full of surprises and challenges. Despite it all, the Arts Access Program and our incredible artists stayed connected and found creative solutions wherever we could. Join us for a review of some of this year’s most memorable moments.


Matheny Arts AccessAccess-ABILITY at Morris Museum

The arts have incredible potential to enrich our lives and everyone deserves equal opportunities to enjoy the benefits. This is why Arts Access was so excited to participate for the third time in Morris Museum’s pioneering Access-ABILITY programing. Work from 15 talented Arts Access artists was shown alongside work from Center for Enhancing Abilities in a pop-up exhibit at the museum. Looking back at the year, we are even more proud of this event, the only in-person event for the Arts Access artists in 2020.

Read More about Access-ABILITY

Matheny Arts AccessFinding Hope Through Art

When everything in our daily lives suddenly changed in the spring, Arts Access quickly started looking for ways to stay connected and share the joy and comfort that art can provide. We launched Finding Hope Through Art, our first online exhibit, hosted on our website.

Read More and view this virtual exhibit

Matheny Arts AccessJC Fridays

In June, Arts Access participated in the first VIRTUAL Access JC Fridays, presented by Art House Productions in Jersey City. JC Fridays is a seasonal arts festival that features art events that take place in restaurants, galleries, stores, and event spaces in almost every neighborhood of Jersey City. Like everyone else, Art House quickly pivoted in the spring to convert their event to exist in a virtual space. The event showcased work from artists with disabilities and work that celebrates disability in its many forms. We were excited to share the work of Arts Access at this event, including Chris Saglimbene’s poignant choreography, “One More Light.”

Read More about JC Fridays

Matheny Arts Access10th Annual Rutgers NJMS Collaborative ARTS Exhibit

This annual exhibition is one that is highly anticipated each year by our artists and staff. Knowing that this year marked the 10th anniversary of this special collaboration, we were all the more excited to celebrate this year’s exhibit. However, when COVID-19 and #StayAtHome orders started to change our day-to-day lives, we knew that the Collaborative ARTS Exhibit would not be quite as we envisioned it this year. Refusing to let this momentous anniversary pass by, we found ways to adapt the exhibition for a virtual space. Over the summer we showcased the redesigned virtual exhibit and held a virtual artists reception, via Zoom.

Read More about the Collaborative ARTS Exhibit
Read More about the virtual reception


Matheny Arts AccessVirtual Facilitation

Nothing stops the creativity of the Arts Access artists! Not even months of quarantine and social distancing. During late spring, Arts Access was able to adapt the facilitation process in order to continue serving our artists from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

Read More about virtual facilitation

Matheny Arts AccessNew Artist Merchandise

Just in time for the upcoming holiday season, Arts Access launched FIVE new items featuring artwork by the incredibly talented Arts Access artists! Our artists have access to vocational opportunities at Arts Access through the sale of their original artworks and merchandise featuring their art. In order to offer these opportunities to even more participants, Arts Access expanded our merchandise collection with these new items.

Read More about the new merchandise

Artists Sunday logo and photo of a man in a wheelchair with two large mugs on the tray table in front of himFirst Annual Artists Sunday

This fall, Arts Access joined artists and organizations across the country for the first annual Artists Sunday, a nationwide event the Sunday after Thanksgiving, encouraging consumers to shop with artists and craftspeople.

Read More about Artists Sunday


Discover Jersey Arts

During the preparations for the virtual Rutgers NJMS Collaborative ARTS Exhibit, representatives from both Arts Access and JSDD’s WAE Center virtually sat down with Christopher Benincasa of Discover Jersey Art’s Culture Vultures to talk about the 10th anniversary and moving the event online.

Read the article

News12 New Jersey

In the fall, John Bathke of News12 New Jersey interviewed some of our artists and staff about virtual facilitation. The segment aired twice, originally in October and again in November as part of a weekend COVID Arts Special.

View the segment


Our Award-Winning Artists

In the spring, two of our talented artists, Rick Cruz and Anthony Zaccaria, were both selected for a Dance Innovations Performance Foundation 2020 scholarship! These esteemed scholarships will help Rick and Anthony further their passion for the arts and pursue their own creative endeavors.

Read More about Rick and Anthony’s achievement

Our Artists featured in an Online Exhibit

In the summer, three of our artists, Chris Saglimbene, Misty Hockenbury, and Rick Cruz, had their artwork in Studio Montclair’s online State of the Art 2020 exhibit. The show included work from many of SMI’s individual artist members, as well as their nonprofit organizational partners.

Read More about the State of the Art exhibit

It certainly has been an unusual but exciting year at Arts Access! We’d like to say a very special thank you to all of our supporters for helping us continue to create great opportunities like the ones listed here for our artists. Thanks for a memorable and unique year!

To stay up to date on all the latest news and projects from Arts Access, be sure to join our email list and follow us on social media.

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