LEXINGTON’S NIGRA ARTS CENTER RECEIVES AWARD OF EXCELLENCE

The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts in Gloversville, New York is being honored with a 2017 Award of Excellence by CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. This award acknowledges their creation of an inclusive environment where artistic expression and diverse creativity can flourish for all aspiring and established artists, both with and without disability. The community-based facility offers classes, exhibits, productions, concerts, camps, workshops, and other enrichment experiences where all participants are respected as artists, actors, dancers, musicians, and aspiring chefs.

Angela Rapp Kennedy, Vice President, CQL; Mary Kay Rizzolo, CEO, CQL; Shaloni Winston, Executive Director, Lexington; and Daniel Richardson, Deputy Executive Director, Lexington

Angela Rapp Kennedy, Vice President, CQL; Mary Kay Rizzolo, CEO, CQL; Shaloni Winston, Executive Director, Lexington; and Daniel Richardson, Deputy Executive Director, Lexington

“The Nigra Arts Center has a genuine attentiveness to each person as an artist. Instead of focusing on disability as being the context for their creation, each artist’s work stands on its own, just as it should. It’s a refreshing approach,” says Mary Kay Rizzolo, President and CEO of CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. CQL is presenting five recipients with the 2017 CQL Award of Excellence at the 2017 CQL Conference, themed ‘Blueprint for Person-Centered Practices,’ in recognition of best practices in human services.

The Lexington Foundation, of Lexington, a chapter of the Arc of New York, owns and operates the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts. Following numerous Personal Outcome Measures® interviews, Lexington discovered that many people had interest in the creative arts and wanted more opportunities to enjoy and express themselves. This center is unique in that community members take part in program activities, right along with those receiving more formal supports. The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts also does not differentiate artists based on diagnosis during juried exhibitions, as there is no reference at all to an artist’s disability. 

“We are most proud to see people with disabilities recognized for their individual talents and abilities by everyone who comes to the arts center.  Every day they are learning and sharing experiences with others who have common goals and aspirations. This has helped them feel respected and to be true members of the community,” said Shaloni Winston, Executive Director of Lexington and the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts. “We are grateful to CQL for this honor and recognition.”

The mission of the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts is to provide a creative educational resource for people of all ages and abilities while celebrating the arts through classes, entertainment, exhibitions, and special events. Additionally, they are committed to offering accessible art programs for adults and children with developmental and physical differences.

The Lexington Foundation's NIGHT OUT is coming to the Nigra Arts Center!

The Lexington Foundation’s NIGHT OUT will take place at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts on Friday, September 22. The event begins at 6 p.m. The arts center is located at 2736 State Highway 30, Gloversville.

2016 Lexington Night Out.jpg

The NIGHT OUT will feature food and craft beer from Lanzi’s on the Lake, musical performances by Pat Decker and Flame, raffles and auctions, magician Shaun Robison, dancing and much more. Proceeds will benefit the Nigra Arts Center and Transitions.

The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts is upstate New York's premier community arts center, providing classes in music, dance, art, yoga, cooking and more. The center houses exceptional art venues, hosts family fun events, and provides educational opportunities for people of all ages, abilities and artistic skills. Additionally, the Nigra Arts Center is a popular venue for private and corporate events.

Transitions is making a difference in the lives of young people and families by providing the training and skills needed for students to live independently and follow their college and career dreams. This outstanding college and career Apprenticeship program is uniquely designed for young adults with autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, nonverbal learning disabilities and other learning differences.

Individual tickets for the NIGHT OUT are $100. Tables for 10 and sponsorships are also available. For more information, visit pncreativeartscenter.org or call (518) 661-9932.

Summer Theater Camps at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts

The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts is pleased to announce its first public offering – exciting, one-week theater camps for children and teens taught by local actress, director, singer and drama teacher Roberta Esposito. There will be seven weeklong camps in July and August open to all children in the community: two camps for children aged 4 to 7, two for 8- to 11-year-olds and three for theater fans ages 11 and up. Children of all experience and skill levels are welcome.

There is a 10% discount available for students taking more than one class, for multiple students in the same family and for the children of Lexington employees. For more information, including a camp schedule and cost of attendance, and to register, please visit www.pncreativeartscenter.org/theater-camp. At checkout, use the coupon code SUMMER2015 to receive the 10% discount.

We hope your child will join us for a summer of fun and enrichment in the performing arts!

Lexington Announces Transitions Apprenticeship Program

Lexington, Chapter of NYSARC, Inc. and The Arc, has announced “Transitions,” a supportive Apprenticeship program for high school graduates and young adults with learning differences including Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia, nonverbal learning disabilities, visual or hearing impairments and other medical conditions who want to attend college and/or prepare for a career but may require academic, social, medical and/or emotional support. The Transitions program’s curriculum focuses on building academic, employment, life and general independence skills.

“Young adults with learning differences and disabilities often require extra preparation and dedicated supports to live independently and achieve college and career success,” stated Shaloni Winston, Lexington’s executive director. “Transitions offers Apprentices this opportunity by providing valuable skills, tools and support needed for each and every one of them to learn, thrive and live a life of independence that they and their parents hoped for but never thought was possible.”

Through evidence-based approaches and services and a careful partnership with Lexington, a provider with over 60 years of award-winning disability services, Transitions students will have access to state-of-the-art facilities, an experienced staff including mentors and coaches, and a uniquely designed curriculum that will provide individualized attention and training in skills students will use for the rest of their lives. They will be trained in executive functioning, self-advocacy, safety, healthy living and wellness, as well as learn social skills and set goals, putting them on the path toward college and career success, and ultimately independence.

Transitions will be located in Gloversville, NY, in the foothills of the beautiful Adirondack Mountains, and will share space with The Lexington Foundation’s Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts, a year-round arts center that will provide a rich assortment of art and hobby-related classes for artists of all ages and interests. These new programs will be hosted in state-of-the-art buildings, which were recently purchased and are currently undergoing renovations to accommodate the particular needs of both Transitions and the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts.

Transitions has collaborated with several elite institutions including the Savannah College of Art and Design, University of Washington’s DO-IT program for students with disabilities, Mayo Clinic, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Autism Center for Excellence and the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts to provide an exclusive experience for students who are interested in successful career and life outcomes. Transitions also offers many socially rich recreation opportunities, such as memorable Adirondack experiences, trips and entertainment.

“As the mother of a child with Turner syndrome and nonverbal learning disabilities, I know how overwhelming it feels when faced with decisions that affect your son or daughter for life, and the choices that face them after high school regarding college, a career or living independently, and whether or not resources and supports are available to make that happen,” added Winston. “At Transitions, your child will be safe, well cared for and will come out of the program prepared for opportunities that life offers beyond high school, including college and a career. We can help them transition from a life of constant support to a life they control themselves. This was what inspired me to create the Transitions program, and is what sets Transitions apart from other programs.”

Both full-year College Apprenticeship programs and Career Apprenticeship programs are offered by Transitions. Applications are now being accepted for these full-year sessions, which start in August 2015. Additionally, Transitions is offering a three-week Summer Immersion Experience that will introduce attendees to the Transitions curriculum and college or life experience. Summer sessions are available from June 14–July 3, July 5–July 24 and July 26–August 14, 2015, with applications currently being accepted. For more information, call (518) 775-5374 or visit Transitions online at www.TransitionsUSA.org.

Announcing the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts

The Lexington Foundation is pleased to announce the development of two very unique and innovative programs: The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts and Transitions, an apprenticeship program designed to foster college and career success for students with learning differences.

The Lexington Foundation has signed a contract and intends to purchase the former Tetra Tech property and facilities located on 66 picturesque acres at the intersection of Route 30 and Route 30A in Mayfield. “Our new programs will be hosted in the property’s existing buildings which will be updated and renovated in order to accommodate the particular needs of the Paul Nigra Center and the Transitions program,” said Shaloni Winston, Executive Director of Lexington – Fulton County Chapter, NYSARC, Inc. “The Paul Nigra Center’s location is both beautiful and inviting and offers the best of what our region has to offer. We really wanted a Center that would not only attract those from outside our region, but would make our community proud.”

The Lexington Foundation has partnered with the Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) Collaborative Learning Center (CLC). Under the guidance of professors, twelve graduate students from SCAD’s interior design, graphic and media design, and arts administration programs have worked together to study the unique needs of The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts and the Transitions program, and then presented ideas about how to best design and adapt the existing space to suit those needs. The professors leading the project, Chance Farago, Professor of Arts Administration, and Meghan Woodcock, EDAC, Faculty, Interior Design, flew in from Savannah, Georgia to visit Lexington and learn about the services and support Lexington provides, meet staff and the individuals supported by Lexington, and visit the proposed property. 

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 SCAD Professors Chance Farago (far left) and Meghan Woodcock (far right) are greeted at Lexington by Patrick Foote, Flame Lead Singer Michelle King and Lexington Executive Director Shaloni Winston.

SCAD Professors Chance Farago (far left) and Meghan Woodcock (far right) are greeted at Lexington by Patrick Foote, Flame Lead Singer Michelle King and Lexington Executive Director Shaloni Winston.

Lexington Deputy Executive Director Dan Richardson, Executive Director Shaloni Winston and Lexington Foundation Executive Director Wally Hart present SCAD Executive Director of External Relations Danny Filson with a painting of the Adirondacks. The piece was painted by Victor Colon who studies in Lexington's Creative Expressions Program and the frame was custom made by Susy Easterly, a local artist and SCAD graduate.

Lexington Deputy Executive Director Dan Richardson, Executive Director Shaloni Winston and Lexington Foundation Executive Director Wally Hart present SCAD Executive Director of External Relations Danny Filson with a painting of the Adirondacks. The piece was painted by Victor Colon who studies in Lexington's Creative Expressions Program and the frame was custom made by Susy Easterly, a local artist and SCAD graduate.

“At SCAD, collaborative learning is a core element of the university’s mission to help prepare students for professional creative careers,” said Josh Lind, director of the CLC. “The opportunity to work with an organization like the Lexington Foundation on a real world, deadline-driven project provides invaluable experience to our students. In just the first few weeks of the quarter, the students have demonstrated significant enthusiasm for this project – especially given how meaningful the result will be for the individuals supported by Lexington.” SCAD’s Collaborative Learning Center’s current and past partners include companies like Adobe, Coca-Cola, Chick-fil-A, General Electric and Microsoft. Lexington is proud to collaborate with SCAD and join this esteemed list.

The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts was named for Lexington’s former Executive Director of 42 years, Paul Nigra.  It will be a beautiful, year-round arts center which will provide a rich assortment of art and hobby-related classes for emerging artists of all ages and interests including, but not limited to, culinary arts, performing arts, visual arts, quilting, woodcarving and yoga. It will also house premium art venues, host fun family events and provide educational opportunities for the entire community (both the general public and individuals supported by Lexington). The very best of Fulton County’s local talent will teach classes and give presentations at the Paul Nigra Center and noted artists from beyond the county’s borders will visit and share their expertise and talent. The Paul Nigra Center will also proudly offer employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

“Paul Nigra worked tirelessly to support people with disabilities and believed that every person could achieve success and fulfillment. We believe that both the Center for Creative Arts and Transitions program will allow Lexington to celebrate this vision and continue providing exceptional services and programs to the community and individuals with special needs,” added Winston. Nigra founded Lexington’s world-famous rock band, Flame, a group of musicians who refuse to let their disabilities be a barrier to success. The Paul Nigra Center will be a “home base” for Flame, continuing Nigra’s legacy of cultivating and celebrating the artistic endeavors of people of all ages and abilities.

The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts will be wholly owned and operated by The Lexington Foundation and will be funded by contributions, grants and fees for services. Lexington ARC funds will not be available for this project as they are dedicated to the care and support of the people Lexington supports. As The Lexington Foundation embarks on a capital campaign in order to pay for the purchase and renovations of the property, we have sought out community leaders and partners to serve on The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts Advisory Board, which will be chaired by local businessman and Johnstown resident Brian Hanaburgh. Design and renovations are expected to be completed for the opening scheduled for June 2015. For more details about the project, please contact Wally Hart, Executive Director of the Lexington Foundation, at (518) 736-3917 or hartw@lexcenter.org.

The Lexington Foundation Fashion Show and Luncheon

On Sunday, June 8, The Lexington Foundation held its annual Fashion Show and Luncheon to raise money for the development of the Paul Nigra Center for the Creative Arts. The program included a champagne and strawberry welcome, a luncheon prepared and served by Kingsboro Catering, a fashion show with fashions provided by Saratoga Trunk and Lexington's own Encore Kids, dessert made by Lexington's Home and Career College and a Silent Auction featuring many items including artwork by artists in our own Creative Expressions program. We thank our generous sponsors, Frontier Communications and Derby Office Equipment for their support and all of our models for participating.

All photos are by Lisa Miller of Studio di Luce in New Hartford.

Centerpieces by Brenda Dwyer.

Centerpieces by Brenda Dwyer.

The child models hanging out backstage.

The child models hanging out backstage.

Cece D'Amore.

Cece D'Amore.

Bella Crankshaw.

Bella Crankshaw.

Abbi Lewis.

Abbi Lewis.

Cole Preston.

Cole Preston.

Bella Lewis.

Bella Lewis.

Mia Crankshaw,

Mia Crankshaw,

The child models take one last turn down the runway.

The child models take one last turn down the runway.

Miss Fulton County Emily Stegland.

Miss Fulton County Emily Stegland.

Virginia D'Amore.

Virginia D'Amore.

Kim Preston.

Kim Preston.

Maureen McAuliffe.

Maureen McAuliffe.

Roberta Thomas and granddaughter Addison Fazzio.

Roberta Thomas and granddaughter Addison Fazzio.

Shannon Kline.

Shannon Kline.

Susan Ringland.

Susan Ringland.

The models take one last spin.

The models take one last spin.

Thank you to all of our wonderful supporters for attending and making the event such a success!!!