[Please note that ASI is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 and its potential impact on this year’s Spark Awards on May 13. In the meantime, we still feel it’s important to spotlight the important work of our many honorees.]
The Children’s Guild Foundation Autism Spectrum Disorder Center at Oishei Children’s Hospital is the winner of this year’s Spark Award for Arts Integration. The center provides multidisciplinary evaluation, diagnosis, care, and support for families with autism spectrum disorders.
In addition to the medical work done by the team at the center, the resources and programs for families with autism, sensory challenges, or developmental disabilities are an integral part of its plan to support the community. By collaborating with entities such as the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Theatre of Youth, Explore & More Children’s Museum, the Aquarium of Niagara, Community Music School, Squeaky Wheel, and Rock Autism, they have been able to develop sensory-friendly, inclusive, and affordable programs for families to experience culture and create art in a comfortable and supportive environment.
Some of the center’s programs include Au-Some Evenings at Explore & More Children’s, Au-Some Aquarium in Niagara Falls, BPO Kids Exceptional Kids, and Sensory Friendly Performances at Theatre of Youth. To ensure their events are as accessible as possible and to encourage families to try new things together, tickets are either free or greatly discounted at all of their events. Recently, the center has also been focused on developing programming specifically for teens on the spectrum in the areas of music, film, acting, and animation, which give them new ways to express themselves and build confidence.
Spark Awards 2020 Honorees & Finalists
We are excited to announce the 2020 Spark Awards honorees and finalists:
Arts Organization of the Year Finalists
1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center
O’Connell & Company
Unique Theatre Co.
Artist of the Year Finalists
Chris J. Handley
The Children’s Guild Foundation Autism Spectrum Disorder Center at Oishei Children’s Hospital
DEC Program of the Year
Lewiston Council on the Arts’ Iroquois Market
Vincent O’Neill, Irish Classical Theatre Co.
West Falls Center for the Arts
Supporter of the Cultural Sector
Joel Feroleto, Buffalo Common Council Member, Delaware District
Trailblazer of the Arts
Michele Agosto, Buffalo Public Schools
Beth Pedersen, Buffalo Society of Artists