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Access Parrish Addresses Artistic Programming For Youth And Adults With Varied Needs And Abilities

Nicole Barylski

Parrish Art Museum Docent Explains Artwork to a group from the Alzheimer's Disease Resource Center (ADRC). (Photo: ADRC and Dr. Cynthia Paulis)

This year, the Parrish Art Museum, in collaboration with several local and regional organizations, has introduced Access Parrish. The programming was specifically established for youth and adults with varied needs and abilities including autism and Alzheimer's and will include a series of learning experiences.

"Access Parrish is designed to provide a positive, shared experience among varied needs youth and adults, their caregivers, and Parrish educators," said Cara Conklin-Wingfield, Parrish Education Director. "They were created with careful consideration of the needs of each population. For example, educators working with ADRC participants initiate dialogue that is very much in-the-moment—without any reliance on past experience or memory."

Access Parrish programs include Paint at the Parrish with Alzheimer's Disease Resource Center (ADRC), Access Workshop programs for youth in conjunction with Flying Point Foundation, youth programs in partnership with regional schools, and Access Tours and Workshops, which are available at the Museum and also offsite at nursing homes and other community facilities. All events are complimentary, and feature conversation discussion sessions paired with art-making lessons.

Paint at the Parrish with ADRC, is geared towards those with Alzheimer's or dementia, as well as their care partners. The three-hour class is presented once a month on a Wednesday morning from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The session starts with a chat in the gallery, where a trained facilitator utilizes a query to spark group involvement. Then participants are invited to the studio for art activities. Attendees also receive a complimentary boxed lunch in the café and free transportation, through the support of ADRC. Upcoming Paint at the Parrish with ADRC will take place on June 8th, July 13th, August 10th, September 14th, October 12th, and November 9th. Pre-registration is required. For more information, or to register, contact Michele Payne, Director of Programs at ADRC at 631-580-5100, x304.

"Feedback we've received from the participants in the first two programs has been profound," added Conklin-Wingfield. "Several commented that it was one of the most gratifying experiences they have had with their loved one—a stimulating cultural event outside of the facility or the private home where they were truly able to connect."

Access Workshop Programs, developed in partnership with the Flying Point Foundation, was created for individuals of all ages with developmental or learning disabilities. During the workshops, attendees and their family member or caregiver discover works of art in the galleries and then construct art during studio activities. Parrish educators Wendy Gottlieb and Deborah Lukasik co-teach the one-hour program, which takes place on Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. The next session is scheduled for June 5th. Pre-registration is required, and can be done online at parrishart.org, or by contacting Conklin-Wingfield at wingfieldc@parrishart.org or 631-283-2118 x121.

For the Access School Partnerships, Parrish instructors team up with the life-skills classes in Southampton Intermediate and High School, as well as at Hampton Bays High School. During the lessons, students assist with the creation of monthly visits to the Museum that explore the act of perceiving and conversing about art, and also generating works in the studio. Museum staff collaborate closely with behavior specialists at the schools to develop experiences that support the reinforcement of the students' educational goals and also familiarize participants with the Museum setting. The trips originated in April and will continue throughout the year.

The Museum also offers Access Tours and Workshops for groups of children, families, and adults. They are available upon request.

Access Parrish programs are made possible thanks to support from the Long Island Community Foundation and the Herman Goldman Foundation, as well as partnerships with the Alzheimer's Disease Resource Center, Flying Point Foundation for Autism, Southampton Public Schools, and Hampton Bays School District.

Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, call 631-283-2118 or visit parrishart.org.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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