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Writers from Matheny's Arts Access Program Visit Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival

Four artists with disabilities visit Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival at NJPAC.

Several writers in the Matheny Medical and Educational Center's Arts Access program attended the recent Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark. They had an opportunity to listen to several poets and have lunch at Nico Kitchen + Bar, which is adjacent to the theater.

Matheny is a special hospital and educational facility in Peapack for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Arts Access enables people with disabilities to create fine art, assisted by professional artist-facilitators. The Creative Writing discipline uses innovative systems that enable writers with disabilities to express themselves through the written word. They can employ speech, augmentative communication devices or pictogram communication to express their ideas and thoughts through poetry, journaling, novel writing or word art.

The four writers who visited the poetry festival are active participants in the Creative Writing program. Jessica Evans writes whimsical poems and essays and has started a book. Anthony Lafond is a poet whose work has been featured in the Breath & Shadow online literary publication. He has also just completed his first novel, Ave Maria.  Isabelle Villacis is currently working on her autobiography, and T.J. Christian writes humorous and/or insightful essays that tackle everything from cuisine and friendship to faith and family.

On Saturday, November 3, Full Circle 2012: Unexpected Art will celebrate Matheny's Arts Access Program with a visual arts exhibition and a multi-media stage presentation showcasing dance/choreography, writing and drama. Full Circle will be held from 3-6 p.m. in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center at Matheny. Admission is $30. For more information or to order tickets, call (908) 234-0011, ext. 260, or email pcats@matheny.org.

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