October is Learning Disabilities month, and to celebrate, the Learning Disabilities Association of WNY (LDA of WNY) invites the community to their art program space, Starlight Studio and Art Gallery for Grapes and Hops in the Gallery on Saturday, October 19th from 6-9PM.
Starlight Studio and Art Gallery, a program of LDA of WNY, allows individuals with disabilities to express themselves through different art media and the persons gain knowledge and confidence along the way. Now home to 43 artists with disabilities, Starlight Studio opened in 2005 and was the first studio of its kind in WNY.
In the past eight years, Starlight has teamed up with numerous creative entities like Squeaky Wheel and CEPA Gallery to expand their knowledge and work deeper in the community. Several Starlight Artists are now published poets who regularly perform their spoken word art in front of audiences at events such as, The Infringement Festival, Spread the Word to End the Word and at all the Starlight art openings.
Despite the positives, Starlight still risks being swept away with looming budget cuts. Along with support from the community, the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) funds Starlight Studio and Art Gallery. OPWDD has faced budget cuts each year.
This past year, Governor Andrew Cuomo originally proposed a budget cut of $240 million to OPWDD. Due to an uproar from local activists, politicians, self advocates and the community, this past year’s proposed budget was restored. Each year holds the risk of another cut, however.
“Grapes and Hops in the Gallery is a special opportunity to experience Starlight Studio in a unique and communal way,” says Parrish Gibbons, Director of Community Relations for the Learning Disabilities Association of WNY, “this event will not only serve as a fundraiser for the Starlight program, but an opportunity for the community to embrace the unique art scene that Buffalo prides itself in, and to learn more about our neighbors who need their support the most.”
The fundraiser will showcase some of Buffalo’s favorite beer from Flying Bison, Community Beer Works and The Village Beer Merchant to name a few. A variety of artisan wine donated from the Premier Group will be served as well.
The evening will include a Community Artwork Auction, including works from artists in the community as well as Starlight Artists. A screening of Art Everywhere, a documentary about Starlight Studio created by Jon Hand, will be featured in the Starlight Library. Varuna, The Root Cellars and Tent Cent Howl will provide live music. All the tasty samplings are included in your ticket price of $35, or $50 for a couple. Tickets are available at the event door or in advance at www.ldaofwny.org.