Inclusive Arts Partnership New partnership seeks to increase access to the arts for students of all abilities By Grace Clark, Education Enrollment and Marketing Coordinator Education @ Hartford Stage has formed a new partnership with CT Inclusive Arts to help increase access to the arts for all students and abilities in the Greater Hartford area. CT Inclusive Arts, founded in 2018, engages youth of all abilities in the Greater Hartford area through an innovative and inclusive performing and visual arts education program which culminates in a major public performance. CT Inclusive Arts was inspired by LIVE ART, a groundbreaking inclusive arts education program founded by SPARC, a performing arts school in Richmond, Virginia. “There, students of all levels of ability are celebrated, and their art and their talents are brought forward through featuring them in the performance, as well as in the classroom; and that was something that founder, Jane Woodcox, really saw that had magic and there was an opportunity to do it in Connecticut,” said Margie Glick, Director of Patron Services at Hartford Stage and who served on the Steering Committee. “It shouldn’t just be that you’re in a class and the traditionally developing students lead the performance. That doesn’t have to be. Any student can lead a performance in an artistic world.” Education @ Hartford Stage has been a key partner with CT Inclusive Arts since early planning began to bring it to Connecticut and is one of four program partners to host and provide space to facilitate classes. Education @ Hartford Stage will offer its performance and class space, located at 942 Main Street in Hartford, to host CT Inclusive Arts’ Modern Movement & Dance Class. The class, which will begin on Tuesday, November 12, includes body awareness exercises, use of creative props, and musical expressions to introduce students to a variety of dance styles and choreography in a supportive, all-levels welcomed environment. Jennifer Roberts, Director of Education @ Hartford Stage, said the partnership and launch of CT Inclusive Arts is a thrilling accomplishment. “Hartford Stage is committed to ensuring that our education programs are inclusive of students of all abilities and to partnering with organizations to create and implement programs that serve students, with and without disabilities, working together. Creating together through the arts is a unique and powerful means of bringing people together, creating deeper understanding and empathy, and promoting self-expression and self-confidence,” she explained. “Given the theatre’s longstanding commitment to education, inclusion and artistic excellence, we knew that collaborating with Education @ Hartford Stage was key to our success,” said Jane D. Woodcox, Founder and Executive Director of CT Inclusive Arts, who has served as an Education @ Hartford Stage Council Member and Hartford Stage Ambassador. “It’s a program that is non-competitive in a competitive world, with more opportunity to explore the arts. What this program allows is for students to share their strengths and talent in a way you may not expect.” CT Inclusive Arts’ 15-week program will culminate in a performance at Central Connecticut State University’s Welte Auditorium in New Britain on March 21, 2020. For more information, visit https://www.ctinclusivearts.org/. CT Inclusive Arts. Photo by Jim Hale.