The Kennedy Center Maggie Daly Arts Co-operative (MDAC) will celebrate its grand opening in the Bridgeport Artspace on Thursday, June 5, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
The Kennedy Center Maggie Daly Arts Cooperative (MDAC) started as a dream and has become the first program of its kind for people with disabilities in Southern Connecticut.
Located in downtown Bridgeport at 1042 Broad St., this new program recently opened due to the generosity of the proceeds from the Fairfield Christmas Tree Festival and the newly created Maggie Daly Fund. The profits from the 2013 Festival were earmarked for this initiative, which totaled more than $300,000, including the Maggie Daly Fund.
“The Kennedy Center is thrilled to open the Maggie Daly Arts Co-operative as a tribute to the late Maggie Daly, a longtime avid supporter of The Kennedy Center and our art programs,” said Martin D. Schwartz, President and CEO of The Kennedy Center, which is headquartered in Trumbull. “We are extremely grateful to the donors who contributed to the Maggie Daly Fund and the entire community for their support of the Fairfield Christmas Tree Festival, our major contributor. Without the Festival’s involvement, this new program would have never been created.”
MDAC is located in the former Read’s Building, which is called Artspace. “The Kennedy Center will have the opportunity to interact with the 61 creative artists in the building,” said Stephanie Campbell, the new Project Manager. “We chose this location because we wanted to house this program in a vibrant artists’ community and for each participant to expand their artistic growth.”
The 2,600-square-foot space includes expressive arts as well as a yoga/dance studio for 15 to 20 artists.
The full-time staff will oversee Kennedy Center (participants 21 and older) clients with a range of disabilities and abilities from Fairfield and New Haven Counties. The artists have been selected from other Kennedy Center programs as well as other entities because of their interest and passion for the arts. Transportation is provided by the Kennedy Center as well as public transportation with the Center’s travel training program. New referrals are still being accepted.
MDAC will be open Monday through Friday. Some of the activities offered include: visual arts and mixed media, painting, cartooning, photography, weaving, ceramics, music, movement, meditation, and yoga classes as well as outings to museums and art galleries.
“I am excited for the artists to have a space where they can be creative and embrace the ‘artist first’ premise,” said Campbell. “The joy on their faces when they first entered this dedicated art space was simply priceless.”
Deirdre Daly of Fairfield, had this to say about her mother’s tribute. “We are so pleased that The Kennedy Center chose to pay tribute to my mother and her legacy in such a meaningful way. We believe this Arts Cooperative uniquely captures her creative spirit, her resounding belief in our brother Mickey, who is a client of The Kennedy Center, and her dedication to The Center. It also forges bonds among artists and between Bridgeport and neighboring communities.
“For many years, The Kennedy Center has been a substantial part of our brother’s life, a second home for him that provides structure, comfort and inspiration,” said Daly. “For over thirty years, my mother was devoted to the Center. She worked hard to develop the art therapy program and was instrumental in the creation of the annual calendar that captures the remarkable abilities of the Kennedy Center artists.”
“From the onset of the art therapy program, the hope was to create a place specifically designed and dedicated to artists with disabilities,” said Schwartz. “This space will provide a day program for Kennedy Center artists, rental space for local artists who would be enlisted to teach, and a gallery to showcase the work of all the artists. The space will also be open for evening and weekend classes and events.”
The Kennedy Center is an internationally accredited, non-profit, community-based rehabilitation organization that currently serves over 2,400 individuals annually. The agency actively responds to the needs of the community by offering innovative, comprehensive service options to persons with disabilities and special needs, from birth to senior years. The Kennedy Center operates 26 community experience programs, 16 group homes, an industries program composed of six businesses, supported and competitive employment and job placement services, a family support and respite service, travel training, and a variety of children’s programs. Visit thekennedycenterinc.org for more information.