HCN News & Notes

Community Access to the Arts Breaking Ground on Future Home Today

GREAT BARRINGTON — Community Access to the Arts (CATA) will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at the organization’s future home at 420 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington today at 11 a.m. The new arts center will establish a permanent home for CATA and allow the organization to expand its innovative arts programs for people with disabilities.

“After 26 years of renting space, CATA will now have a true home — one that will double our existing space for artists with disabilities,” Executive Director Margaret Keller said. “With the growth we’ve achieved in recent years, we have been bursting at the seams. Now, after intensive planning, we are ready to take this pivotal step forward to give our CATA artists the space they deserve. We can’t wait to share our plans with the wider community at the groundbreaking and in the months ahead.”

The two-story, 6,400-square-foot facility will double the organization’s existing studio space, with two new art studios — one for visual arts and writing, the other for dance and performing arts. The new arts center will also embody the principles of universal design, making the facility accessible to every person. For the first time, the building will bring the organization’s studios and offices under the same roof.

“CATA is a statewide, respected organization which provides those with special abilities a community, a family, and a place to express themselves,” state Rep. Smitty Pignatelli said. “I can think of no better way to represent the home CATA creates for so many than by literally breaking ground on what will be a new building.”

Formerly the Renaissance Arts Center, the building will undergo an extensive renovation to prepare for its new life as the CATA Arts Center. Architects Clark & Green are leading the design of the renovation, and Allegrone is managing construction. Construction is slated to begin in July, with the building opening in early 2020.

Since 1993, CATA has brought more than 20,000 life-changing arts workshops to more than 2,000 people with disabilities throughout Berkshire and Columbia counties. In the last five years, CATA has dramatically increased its program offerings, serving more than 70% more people, while also expanding public programs, including performances, readings, and art exhibits featuring work by CATA artists with disabilities.