ART Works! ETTA Studio & Gallery
  • Amherst, MA
  • United States
  • arts organization
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Profile Information

Are you an artist, arts organization or venue?
arts organization
What town do you live in?
Amherst Area
In which disciplines do you work or exhibit?
Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Photography, Film, Video, Digital Media, Clay, Sculpture, Installation, Fiber, Performance, Dance, Theater, Words, Sound/Music, Other
Artist Statement/Bio
A teacher of the deaf since 1977, in 1983, I began dancing in British Columbia, BC and began walking and dancing on stilts in 1986. My creative journey began with performing original choreography at the 1984 Canadian Women’s Art and Music Festival; then at Dance in Canada in Ottawa in 1986 with The Evelyn Roth Company as the stilt dancer. In 1987, I performed my one woman show for the Vancouver Fringe Festival. In 1987, I performed a bi-lingual work adapted from my one woman show, in Montreal for the International Feminist Book Fair. Continuing to work as a stilt-walker/dancer in festivals, I created a childrens Circus with 8-12 year old stilt dancers from 1988-1993. I work with puppetry, masks and stilts, teaching youth stilt walking, and performing on stilts with giant backpack puppets at the New York City Dance Parade, Clearwater Festival, and many area parades.

In 1994, I moved to Massachusetts and continued teaching and creating original work- the Earth Circus for Earth Day, 1995. In 1997, I continued teaching theater by working with people labeled as developmentally disabled, The Rainbow Players; creating theater and encouraging creative potential. Annual shows from improvisation have run from the year 2000-2009. I took The Rainbow Players to Ireland twice in 2004 and 2005 for the Dundalk Maytime International Theater Festival. The group has been keynote speaker/ performers for the National Institute of Recreation Inclusion and presenters for other conferences such as the Massachusetts DMR 24th Annual Human Rights Conference and for the international Social Justice conference, Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed in Omaha, NE.

The Rainbow Players have been presenting techniques of improvisation theater that respond to and offer solutions to youth on the issues of bullying and discrimination. These techniques range from Augusto Boal's Theater of the Oppressed and Rainbow of Desire to forms drawn from Drama Therapy and Conflict Resolution and Mediation.

I have now founded the organization, Empowerment Through The Arts International (ETTA) and ETTA Art Studio & Gallery to support the continued advancement of the arts for people of all abilities. ETTA International is in the process of seeking Non-profit status and until then, we are generously supported in many ways by Stavros Center for Independent Living. 2010 marks the 10th Anniversary of The Rainbow Players Improv Troupe’s first original production.
Describe your organization or gallery
ART Works! ETTA Studios & Gallery (Empowerment Through the Arts International) was founded as a response to the needs of people of all abilities to have access to the arts and training in the arts. Studio space is available for rental by the month or weekly. The center is truly a community and artist run space. Daytime, afternoon and evening classes as well as weekend workshops. ETTA International is dedicated to creating inclusive arts opportunities for the enrichment and empowerment of individuals labeled as “developmentally disabled”. ETTA fosters the expansion needed on a wide scale for individuals in an area that is largely under-served: training in the arts. Through mentor-ships and classes offered by The Rainbow Players performing theater since 1999, with guest artists and art teachers, the dream becomes reality.

The theater troupe, The Rainbow Players, are performing original shows, presenting at conferences and giving workshops in schools for 10 years. Leadership and dreams coming true are the guidelines. From Amherst, Massachusetts to Dundalk and Galway, Ireland, to Omaha, Nebraska- the group has touched thousands of individuals with their candid and often humorous stories told through the medium of improvisation.

ETTA International presents programs for children, teens and adults in the performing arts, visual arts and workshops on self-advocacy and theater improvisation. Children are supported through outreach classes in the schools and camps. ETTA encourages collaborations and partnerships with artists, arts organizations, human service agencies, therapists and individuals with and without a label of disability. See for yourself! Invite The Rainbow Players to come to your school, your place of business, your home for a private party or your organization's conference to see how individuals with the label of "developmental disability" have overcome the stigma of dis-abled to begin living unabashedly and creatively as their unique selves! "Gifted" is the new paradigm.... Join us to see how we each limit our thinking and abilities and break the old boundaries into full expression of empowerment!

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