‘Art knows no boundaries’: Trumbull’s Kennedy Center unveils new calendar

TRUMBULL — Though it seems counterintuitive, looking back can be a way to look forward, said Stephanie Campbell, director of donor relations for the Kennedy Center.

For 70 years, the center has been serving and creating opportunity for people with disabilities through its various programs, including its art therapy programs. Every year, the artwork of the center’s clients is spotlighted in the ‘A Unique Perspective’ calendar, which the center produces with the support of People’s United Bank.

Now in its 39th year, the calendar has featured the work of more than 200 artists, Campbell said. The calendars are available through the Kennedy Center’s Palm and Able thrift stores and at People’s United Bank branches. According to the center, People’s alone has distributed more than 700,000 calendars since the project started.

“It is a terrific way to show the world, basically that art knows no boundaries — that people of all abilities should be able to express themselves,” she said.

But this year, Campbell said, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented many clients from attending Kennedy Center programs. The center even shut down for a bit and, though Campbell said the organization pivoted and provided art classes online, they didn’t produce the volume of art required for the calendar.

Due partly to that, this year’s calendar is a retrospective of some of the art that has been featured through “A Unique Perspective” throughout its existence.

“We thought we would look back to find inspiration for the future,” Campbell said. “People have really liked the retrospective because it reminds us of all the art in the past we’re so proud of and the artists we’re so proud of.”

The latest edition of the calendar was unveiled Dec. 8 at the Read’s Art Space gallery in downtown Bridgeport. Art from the calendar was featured in the gallery, alongside the work of other local artists.

“It really celebrated the transformative power of art,” Campbell said.

This year’s calendar was dedicated to Lynn McCrystal, former vice president of business enterprises at The Kennedy Center and “one of the visionaries behind the calendar,” Campbell said.

“A Unique Perspective” is an essential project of the Kennedy Center and it’s been rewarding to see it continue all these years, Campbell said.

“It’s really such a unique thing we do,” she said. “We’re very, very proud.”

“A Unique Perspective” is available at People’s Bank branches, and Palm and Able’s brick and mortar stores in Shelton and Trumbull, and online at palmandable.com.