Inclusive by Design Concert-08/22/2012

Uploaded by vsamass on 06.10.2012

>> Good evening. and welcome.
I am Charlie Washburn, executive director of VSA Massachusetts.
And it is a great pleasure to welcome you here tonight, to greet you all and particularly
to welcome our colleagues from around the country and really around the world who have
traveled all the way to Boston to attend the Kennedy Center's LEAD conference, Leadership
Exchange on Arts and Disability. Welcome to you all.
and if you will indulge me, I would like to ask for a quick show of hands.
First, how many of you are here for the LEAD conference?
Good show of hands. That's probably our biggest number.
And how many are with a VSA affiliate? Greetings to all my VSA friends.
And how many heard about this event via our Facebook or email blasts or Twitter?
Oh, wonderful! So that's just great.
Thank you very much.
VSA is a program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. We were founded in
1974, I believe it was, by President Kennedy's sister
Jean to celebrate the president's commitment to the arts and his interest in securing the
civil rights of people with disabilities. So that's really the intersection of those
two ideas, participating in the arts and guaranteeing the rights of people with disabilities.
That is where VSA kind of comes from. We are organized around the globe.
We are in all 50 states and in about 50 other countries.
We serve the mission of promoting the involvement of people of all abilities in the cultural
life of our communities. We do this work with the help of a lot of
friends. And many of us here are local.
So I'm going to do a shameless plug. On the way out, you will see these postcards.
We're inviting people who find this mission interesting and worthwhile to join us for
what we're calling an All Access Pass. It's a one hour event where we go through
our whole reason for being in business and the way we go about our work.
And then we follow up and we get a conversation about how to advance this work together.
SoÉ All Access Pass. We do it twice a month all year, and we will
do them indefinitely. So if anything we're doing seems interesting
or if we come up short and you want to tell us about it, or if you have a great idea,
grab one of those cards, and come meet at one of our social media sites and be sure
to join us. As I say, we do this work with the benefit
of a lot of friends. Include Jeremy Alliger of Alliger Arts
and especially Maria Cabrera who I believe is in the house and her very
able staff at the Museum of Science.
The two organizations that have helped make this concert possible are represented by their
directors who would also like to say a few words of welcome.
First, Jean Whitney of the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation.
>> Thank you, Charlie. Well, I would like to welcome you all here
too. and we're really pleased to be supporting
this performance tonight. We want to thank all of you for your participation
and the work that you do every day. We share your commitment to working towards
a society where universal design is the standard and the participation of people of all abilities
is valued and celebrated. So, again, we're very pleased to be here with
you as a partial sponsor of this concert. and welcome.
and enjoy the show.
Thank you, Jean.. Also with us tonight is Anita Walker who is executive director of
the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Good evening, everybody. Before I do my opening welcoming remarks I
want to do my very best to embarrass the person standing right there. Is that all right?
Audience: Yes!
>> Because there aren't too many people who are over the age of -- say, 30, who can celebrate
25 years as head of our VSA in Massachusetts.
[APPLAUSE] and I have to tell you that Charlie Washburn
is definitely the reason that the Massachusetts Cultural Council has such a dynamic, full
partnership with VSA. and by the way, I also want to point to one
person who just hit my eye, Lisa Wong who is also on the Council, a great leader in
We are delighted to be one of the hosts and sponsors of this event tonight.
and I have to tell you the partnership with VSA is only going to get bigger and stronger
in the years to come. How many of you are from Massachusetts in
the audience? Well, we want to give you one more reason
to be extremely proud in Massachusetts.
Our council, as Lisa knows, recently just completed a strategic planning process, and
we have put front and center, as one of our goals moving forward, to make Massachusetts
a leader in the nation in inclusive and universal design.
We want to make sure that every single cultural organization in the commonwealth is open and
accessible to everybody.
You know, the arts are the place where it really does start because the arts speak to
everyone. It knows no particular language, and we hear it in every single way that we
possibly can. The concert that you are going to be experiencing
tonight is a perfect example of how everyone here will receive this gift in a different
way and the arts are the only thing that can really reach everybody in a very, very special
We think everybody who comes to Massachusetts and engages with one of our amazing world-class
cultural organizations deserves to have that opportunity to be enriched, to be inspired,
to be moved, to be educated, and in partnership with VSA, and Charlie Washburn, we're going
to be working very, very closely to make sure that happens moving forward.
So thank you very much for being here, and thank you, Charlie, for all of your hard work.
Thank you, Anita.
Now about the show.
What we're about to see is a concert produced in a style we call Inclusive by Design. The
basic idea comes from a need to demonstrate what a performance looks like when the universal
design principles are applied from the very beginning.
The National Endowment for the Arts helped us present the first of these concerts back
in 1998, and we've since then produced É. (that was a jazz concert).
We've since produced some blues and rock 'n' roll.
We've also done some gospel with our affiliations with other VSA affiliates in Texas, New Hampshire,
Idaho, and New Mexico.
Not the least of which has been for the good graces of Celia who is doing double duty tonight.
She's the director of VSA in Texas.
So tonight is actually our first venture into classical music.
It's also our first attempt to create -- to employ-- the sense of smell.
We know that the LEAD conference is a fragrance-free conference.
I want to mention that now so that if, in fact, you think that organic herbal essence
would be a problem, you might want to take your leave before the encore of tonight's
Now our creative team tonight starts with Celia Hughes and I will come back and introduce
the rest after we give Celia a chance to provide live audio description.
This is an uncommon application of audio description in that typically it's whispered into the
ear of a person with low vision through assistive listening devices of some sort. We found it
very much effective to share with everyone.
So that's what we're going to do tonight. and Celia Hughes is going to give us that.
>> Okay, thank you. I just want to assuage the fears of the people
who are used to traditional audio description.
When we deliver and talk throughout the performance, I will not be talking throughout Adrian's
wonderful violin playing. We do it at various pauses in the actual performance.
So we are in a 250-seat theater without a raised stage.
in the auditorium, the three walls are paneled with narrow wooden slats from floor to ceiling.
The sound booth is located at the upper left of these seats.
on the stage, a yellow velour main curtain flanks the left and right of the playing area,
a black velvet curtain is drawn across the stage behind the artists.
On the stage in front of the black curtain seated at the far left behind a small table
is the captioner. Next to her on her right sits the A.S.L. interpreter.
Behind the interpreter and slightly to her right is the captioning bar.
It is 5'0" and sits atop a 6'0" pole.
Slightly left of center is a black Steinway baby grand piano with its lid opening to the
Adrian, the violinist, will stand in front of this piano parallel with the keyboard.
In front of him a music stand has a sprig of Rosemary attached.
to the right of the piano, an 11'0" long easel covered with black fabric.
a large clear plastic drop cloth covers the floor in front of this easel.
The audio describer sits to the right of this drop cloth.
On this cloth are the artist's tools, a flat wooden box with three compartments sits on
four wheels. This box is filled with different paints of many colors as well as pastels and
Also on the floor are two long squeegees, two long wooden sticks covered in paint, brushes
covered in dowels also covered in paint. two wooden spacklers (generally used) also
covered in paint, a bucket of water, and several towels also
sit behind the cart. Nancy is dressed in black, a black tunic,
Japanese slippers, and a black woven cap. Two long black braids hang down her back.
She is covered with splashes of paint from her toes to her cap.
Adrian is dressed in a white dress shirt with rolled up cuffs, a thin black tie and gray
dress pants. His crew cut hair frames his face.
Adrian's right arm ends before his wrist.
His violin bow is attached to his lower arm by a molded plastic cuff fastened by two Velcro
Vincent, the pianist, sits on a padded leather piano bench.
He wears a black suit jacket and pants and a black, red and green tie.
He has straight black hair and wears wire-rimmed glasses.
Charlie Washburn wears a gray suit with a sprig of Rosemary in his jacket pocket.
He has closely trimmed white moustache and beard.
>> Thank you, Celia. Celia will be joined tonight on our stage
by Cheryl Giberson. She is already hard at work providing American
Sign Language interpreting.
Our open captioning is being provided by Megan McKenzie of c2 Captioning.
The performance ensemble includes Nancy Ostrovsky who is painting, Vincent Cheung who is playing
piano and Adrian Anantawan on violin. Without further adieu, please welcome our
>> I'd like to thank you all for being part of our lovely experiment we're about to embark
on today, and thank you for having us here. It's an honor to play.
So I just wanted to talk a couple of minutes about the two pieces that we're playing. We
chose Beethoven and Ravel because they both had some form of disability.
Beethoven going deaf around my age, late 20's at that point, and Ravel, who had a neurological
disorder, may not have been diagnosed at that time but he actually did work with a neurologist
when he was diagnosed with aphasia and died because of an operation trying to help him
We're trying to see the connection of disability and music through the lens of universal design,
of using music as a different mode, multiple modes of expression, representation, and expression.
So these two pieces I think reveal a lot about their personalities not only as musicians
but ultimately their identity and struggle, and also triumph, with their disabilities
as well.
Thank you.
>> Celia?
>> Adrian has a white handkerchief hanging from his left pocket which he tux under his
chin where it rusts on the violin when he plays.
At Vincent's right a woman is seated and she stands to assist with turning his music throughout
the performance.
Nancy, using a handful of paints begins to apply orange paint to the right side of the
canvas and the figure of a violin begins to appear.
Echoes of this shape spread to the left. She next uses another handful of yellow and
white paint to rub an oval to the upper left of this orange violin shape. Magenta and teal
strings cross the center of this violin from the upper left to the lower right.
Settled along the top of these strings are musical notations also in teal and magenta
with wide bars of yellow across. Her feet tap and dance.
She touches the canvas from time to time with her feet as she reaches to the top and then
drops to her knees. The echo of a violin in the center of the painting is also crossed
with long strings of teal and magenta, a hand print of oranges and yellows grasps the arm
of the violin.
Drops of bright blue paint run down from the two echo violins at the center and left of
the canvas.
Nancy turns to watch Adrian as he plays. He furrows his eyebrows as he looks at the
Nancy swings her body as she applies reds and pinks to the palms and fingers of her
hands and then lightly taps the canvas at points across the three violins.
Her paint covered fingers applies splats and dots of color as an oval now appears above
the third violin on the left, long turquoise line runs from the lower left diagonal across
the violin to the upper edge of the canvas.
Nancy, now with green hands and fingers, stands with her back to the canvas and swings from
side to side, applying paint in small dots as she moves.
Using the tubes of paint, she now splats color, adding lines to the frets, to the tuning pegs
in yellow, orange, and green.
Watching Adrian, Nancy applies black globs of paint in random place, a pink image of
a hand holds the left violin. Three violins now align the canvas.
>> All right.
Nancy sits on her feet as Adrian and Vincent begin to play.
Adrian has placed the handkerchief back in his pocket.
He bends and sways as he brings his violin to life.
More globs of glistening black paint are applied to the violin with accents of yellow, outlining
the edge. On the yellow oval above the violin on the right, some black lines squiggle and
cross É.a head appears.
Circular attached white lines are framed below this head coming together to form a shirt
and an arm holding a long thin white bow.
Small white lines on top of blue create an arm holding a bow at the violin on the left.
Nancy watches Adrian play, drops to her knees several times as she applies red from a tube.
The drop cloth has turned orange and black and magenta as she steps along the front of
the canvas. Turning slowly from left to right, she dots
the middle violin with reds, blues, yellows. Two and three-inch gashes of yellow paint
spray from the arm of the violin on the right. Two white-shirted figures now tuck a violin
under their chin, one on the right and one on the left.
Colors are applied to the musical notations using the end of a dowel.
Small paintbrushes also apply dots of red. from the three violins, paint streams down,
some thick, some thin, some lines interrupted, some lines flowing.
Inching slowly along the front of the canvas, Nancy's feet stick to the drop cloth.
She studies the painting, shaking the paint of tube, adding brilliant red to the lines.
the strokes of Adrian's bow. to all three violins, the violin and player
on the left is all surrounded by dots and dashes of color.
Nancy signs her painting.
>> So this is the fun part for me. I get to play an encore.
and in your programs, I believe you have a piece of rosemary.
It's lovely to take that back home with you with some new potatoes.
I am going to play a Waltz, Rosemary about a girl whose name is Rosemary.
Here we go.
>> Well, there you have it. Wonderful applications.
Well, not only universal design but clearly a lot of creative energy.
So my special thanks to all of the talent tonight.
I see people signing and waving around. There's another embarrassment coming I think.
>> Good evening. I would like to take the opportunity to embarrass
Charlie a little bit further.
I think that just like Adrian and Vincent deserve a standing ovation, this man standing
next to me does too.
I have had the privilege of working with VSA Massachusetts for almost eight years, but
there is really nothing compared to the dedication and the time that Charlie has provided to
this wonderful organization. He's so much more than just our executive
director. He is a visionary leader.
He is an inspiring mentor, a fervent advocate for people with disabilities and for the arts
and a wonderful friend.
I consider myself very lucky and I think many of you who are in the room here are also very
lucky of having had the opportunity of working with
Charlie for the past 25 years, and many of you also had the opportunity of signing Charlie's
card. We made this for you with some wishes from
your friends and colleagues who have worked with you over the past 25 years, and I hope
that reading those wishes will remind you of all that you have accomplished over these
last 25 years and inspire you to see what else is to come, which we are all sure a lot
more is coming, and the cover has a hydrangea bush because that is because a real one will
be joining your garden in Rhode Island. We hope that seeing the bush grow will inspire
new growth in your career, and we are very proud of being part of your team.
We thank you.
>> Thank you very much. I can't accept this without giving a shout-out
to a woman who really inspired much of this work and really gave me the to-do list that
I am still working on whose idea was behind many of these wonderful things that are still
coming to fruition, Maida Abrams. a shout-out to her.
Thank you all for being here, and let's do the next 25 years!
We will be milling around for a little while. the folks who are with the LEAD conference,
I will note, there is a reception waiting.
I am late by 30 minutes getting you out of here.
My apologies to Betty Siegel and company. But we'll be around if you want to get a closer
look at the mural, you are welcome to come on up.
So thank you again very much.