MORRISTOWN, NJ – The large-scale art exhibit, “Chairs of Inclusion,” is now open at the Morris Museum’s Bickford Gallery. This exhibit, the first of its kind in New Jersey, features art created by professional New Jersey artists collaborating with Wae (Wellness, Arts, Enrichment) Center members, who are adults with developmental disabilities. The exhibit’s opening reception is January 8, 2015, 6:00-8:00pm, and will offer opportunities to meet the artists who collaborated on the project, including Morristown artist Dan Fenelon. Museum admission is $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and children 3-12 years old. The exhibit will remain at the museum, located at 6 Normandy Heights Rd, Morristown, until February 1, 2015.
The Chairs of Inclusion (www.chairsofinclusion.org) were commissioned and created to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Jewish Service for the Developmentally Disabled’s Wae Center, an alternative learning center in West Orange, NJ, for people with developmental disabilities.
“The chairs are objects of art that inspire people to change their perceptions about what individuals with disabilities can accomplish. They are testimony to the talents that oftentimes lay hidden in people with special needs,” says Wae Center Director Marilynn Schneider.
Starting in October 2013, the Wae Center commissioned professional New Jersey artists to create works of art based on the theme of inclusion. Artists who participated in Chairs of Inclusion include Jennifer Levine, Yvette Lucas, and Susanna Baker of Montclair; Tim Folzenlogen of Verona, and Stephen Schwartz, Ellen Hanauer and the ArtShare Artists Collective of Livingston. Also participating were Mansa Mussa of West Orange and Onnie Strother of East Orange; Dan Fenelon of Morristown, Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern of Shrewsbury, and Gladys Barker Grauer of Newark.
The lead artists employed various mediums in interpreting the theme of inclusion. Each brought an idea of what they wanted to create and collaborated with the Center’s member-artists to bring that idea to life. Creating these bright, beautiful chairs was as transformative for the lead artists as it was for the Center’s artists. Says artist Dan Fenelon, “Inclusion represents the true spirit of democracy and freedom.”
About the Wae Center
The Wae Center was founded on the belief and knowledge that each individual possesses the potential for creating a meaningful life, a process the Center calls “Finding the Spark Within.” Inclusion is implemented every single day by facilitators trained to bring people of diverse abilities together as equals. The Chairs of Inclusion project represents the convergence of inclusion, expressive arts, and community.
The Wae Center is a program of Jewish Service for the Developmentally Disabled of MetroWest, Inc. (www.jsddmetrowest.org). JSDD is the lead, multi-purpose agency dedicated to providing an integrated program of community education, advocacy and services for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. JSDD strives to maximize the potential of individuals with developmental disabilities and promotes opportunities for their integration into the Jewish and general communities.