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Amazing Art: A Celebration of Consciousness to Open at Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art

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05/21/2001

NEW PALTZ -- Image available at http://www.newpaltz.edu/news/images/amazing.htmlImages from Amazing Art are avaiable online by clicking here.

An exhibition of works by artists from the Northeast Center for Special Care (NCSC) titled Amazing Art: A Celebration of Consciousness, will be on view at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz from June 4 - July 20, 2001. Bill Richards, Director of the Art Studio Program at the Northeast Center for Special Care in Lake Katrine, New York curates the exhibition.

Amazing Art comprises sixty-five works of art, created by twenty-six artists, along with paintings by Bill Richards and works of photographic documentation by François Deschamps, photography professor at SUNY New Paltz.

The NCSC, a state-of-the-art inpatient special care facility designed to serve medically-complex and multiply-impaired individuals, offers a unique and extraordinary art program as a form of therapy. The art program promotes serious artistic involvement as a method of improving cognition and contributing to the restoration, to the extent possible, of lost functions. In this context, there exists an intense urgency to transform fragmentation into expressions of wholeness, resulting in the production of "amazing art".

"Amazing Art: A Celebration of Consciousness proceeds from, or addresses, radical change - an instantaneous alteration of self," says Bill Richards. "Paradoxically, tragedy and creativity both occur instantly requiring no prerequisites, only appropriate conditions. This exhibition may be thought of as an incredible synthesis of spatial relationships that reveal wholeness authentically. Inherently ironic, however, it is an assertion of the possibility of accomplishment and the creation of beauty."

Nadine Wasserman, Curator of Exhibitions at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art says that this exhibition exemplifies the ways in which artistic expression manifests. Although not academically trained, these artists learn to overcome trepidation and with encouragement they produce remarkable works of art. The process involves both mental concentration and physical stamina, and is therefore quite challenging for these artists who demonstrate the capabilities despite very real obstacles. Educationally, this exhibition will inform the public about the abilities and virtues of the disabled while simultaneously celebrating consciousness.

The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art is located on the campus of SUNY New Paltz.

Exhibition Dates: June 2 - July 20, 2001 Museum Hours: Monday - Friday from 1 to 4 pm, and by appointment. Opening Reception: Saturday, June 2, 2001 Gallery Talk: Curator Bill Richards will present a Gallery Talk on Sunday, July 8 at 1pm.

The exhibition, opening reception, and gallery talk are free and open to the public. For additional information, please call the museum at 845-257-3844, or visit them on the web at www.newpaltz.edu/museum.

Artist Names and Hometowns

1. Anderson, James East Boston, M.A. 2. Aniello, Vincent Port Jefferson, N.Y. 3. Badendyk, Thor New Paltz, N.Y. 4. Blank, Jurgen Saugerties, N.Y. 5. Brown, Harry Hyde Park, N.Y. 6. Caffrey, James Johnstown, N.Y. 7. Cartwright, Joseph Orange County 8. D'Arton, Patricia Middle Falls, N.Y. 9. Deas, Lynn Schenectady, N.Y. 10. Dedyo, Gregory Cold Springs, N.Y. 11. Deschamps, Francois Gardiner N.Y. 12. DiFolco, Anthony Schenectady, N.Y 13. DiFranco, Paul Orangeburg, N.Y. 14. Elia, John Highland, N.Y. 15. Gieger, Gary Brooklyn, N.Y. 16. Hagar, Scott Wallkill, N.Y. 17. Hasenflue, Geraldine 18. Jenkins, Curtis Brooklyn, N.Y. 19. Jenulevich, Charles Pittsburgh, P.A. 20. Lamarita, Dennis Brentwood, N.Y. 21. Miethner, Erich Wassaic, N.Y. 22. Molloy, Paul Hyde Park, N.Y. 23. Richards, Bill Saugerties, N.Y. 24. Snyder, Tim Port Ewen, N.Y. 25. Somers, Harrison Palenville, N.Y. 26. Weitnzer, Alvyn Brooklyn ,N.Y. 27. White, Bill Salem, N.Y.

Bill Richards is available for interview through the Northeast Center for Special Care, 845/336-3500, Ext. 3117. Images of works in this exhibition are available on the web at http://hawk.newpaltz.edu/news/images/amazing.html. Other images and slides are also available. Call 845-257-3872.

Biography of Bill Richards

Bill Richards has created new standards for art programs in healthcare settings by redefining art's therapeutic potential in terms of serious artistic intent. Described as the artist with the highest achievement to enter the healthcare arena (with an exhibition list including the Whitney, Guggenheim, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia Museums of Art, The Institute of Contemporary Art, and others), Richards created the Harlem Horizon Art Studio at Harlem Hospital Center in NYC in 1988. He defined and directed this program for more than ten years during which time it became internationally acclaimed for originality and success. The success was measured by patients' health improvement, highlighted by a quadriplegic regaining ambulation, and the production of outstanding works of art.

Over a span of ten years, the Harlem Horizon Art Studio had twenty-one exhibitions in the NYC area and a traveling show which toured the USA for eighteen months with a full-color catalog sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. The Studio's bibliography includes feature articles in New York Magazine, Seven Arts and One World Magazines, The New York Times and NY Newsday plus special segments on ABC Good Morning America, CNBC The Real Story; NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw; ABC Home Talk Show; CBS Channel 2 News (two-part) Special, and Fox Network's The McCreary Report. Richards' art/healthcare innovations have been noted in the books, A Call For Connection and the special education textbook published by Harcourt Brace, Exceeding the Boundaries -Understanding Exceptional Lives (introduction by Richards). With funding from the W.T. Grant Foundation, Richards wrote and published, in 1991, the seminal booklet on how to start and operate an art program in healthcare facilities entitled, Art of Necessity.

During this span of time, Richards kept his own painting career alive with several exhibitions, most notably Donald Kuspit's Painting Beyond the Death of Painting exhibition in Moscow and a one-person exhibition at Ricco/Maresca Gallery, Soho, NYC. He is represented in the permanent collection of the Guggenheim, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Newark and Miami-Dade Museums plus numerous corporate and private collections.

In March 1999, Richards left the Harlem studio to create an art program at the new Northeast Center for Special Care in Lake Katrine, NY. His stated objective for this state-of-the-art rehabilitation complex for brain injuries was to create the best art program in a healthcare facility in the world. Already, the Center is being transformed into a patients' museum with the conspicuous presence of forty outstanding paintings hanging in the building's public spaces. Also, his envisioned monumental-sculpture garden, begun during the summer of 1999, represents an ongoing collaboration between artists, patients, foundations, colleges and the community.

Bill Richards has emerged as the central figure for artists who want to simultaneously pursue their own artistic careers while contributing to improved quality of life for others. Richards is currently working on a series of paintings entitled Faces of Abstraction. He has developed a new painting process which enables him to capture a person's likeness in an abstract idiom. While the originality of the paintings is inherent in their innovative structure, they portray masters of twentieth century modernism.