Each year, CP State Affiliates from across New York gather in Saratoga Springs to celebrate the accomplishments of people and organizations in the world of intellectual and developmental disabilities and to plan for the future of the field. On October 24th and 25th, 2022, these organizations gathered at the Saratoga Hilton for the CP of NYS Annual Conference.
The crown jewel of this 2-day event has always been its art competition. This year, thanks to its success for the past 19 years, the artwork entered in the competition was incorporated into an art museum titled “NY State of Expression.” The museum was made possible by the efforts of Jawonio, CP Westchester, Center for Disability Services and Prospect Center, and ADAPT Community Network and provided grants to artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) throughout New York state. ADAPT was happy to have been a sponsor of the NY State of Expression Art Museum.
Participants submitted art in several different mediums, from paintings to drawings to photography, and 45 of their works were accepted. They were placed in a sleek, professional gallery setting, which was revealed by way of a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by Kerri Neifeld, Commissioner of OPWDD. Prior to the ceremony, Neifeld took the opportunity to announce the policies she would be implementing to better meet the needs of New Yorkers with disabilities. She also recognized the importance of art as a form of expression and communication for people with I/DD.
One of the standout works of art was crafted by Lissette Vega, who attends ADAPT Community Network’s Elmwood Adult Learning Center. Her painting, titled “African Head Dress Portrait,” featured a vivid likeness of a woman framed by a seaside sunset and was awarded 2nd place in the art competition. Lissette has been with ADAPT for 16 years, but her artistic journey extends even further back. When she attended Massachusetts School for the Deaf, Lissette began painting, inspired by the pictures she saw in books.
“Sometimes, I get my own ideas and paint what I see,” she said. “I see something beautiful and paint the picture.”
Congratulations, Lissette—we look forward to seeing your work in the future!
Next to be recognized were the staff of various CP Affiliates. The staff, including DSPs, social workers, maintenance staff, and more, were awarded for their exemplary dedication and service to the people we support. ADAPT’s awardees were Arman Baluyot, Habilitation Assistant, Kristen Gorman, Director of the Harry Gordon School, Damion Green, System Engineer, and Ingrid Joseph, Residence Manager of Tanya Towers—congratulations to all who were recognized!
On the second day of the conference, several ADAPT staff members presented during informational sessions. One of the sessions was led by Kevin Cameron (Senior Coordinator of Operations), Jeisson Cardona (Vice President of Program Services), and Kelly Spina (Senior Coordinator of Operations) from ADAPT Community Network and Kathleen Contreras, Vice President of Program Services at ADAPT of the Hudson Valley. In this session, titled “Technology Forward: The Next Generation’s Perspective,” the presenters detailed their vision of technology as a means for “providing services, transitioning to managed care, and engaging employees,” as detailed in the conference’s program. In addition, Senior Vice President of Marketing at ADAPT, Laura Hickman, gave attendees tips and tricks to increase their organization’s social media presence.
Mike Alvaro, President and CEO of CP State, summed up the conference in a short statement.
“We’re extremely proud to showcase the work of artists with disabilities in the NY State of Expression Art Gallery,” Mike said. “It brings me great joy to bring together artists of all abilities from across the state and give them a venue to showcase their work.”
Click the link below to watch the Spectrum News coverage of the NY State of Expression Art Museum, featuring an appearance from ADAPT CEO Ed Matthews: