Lexington's Shaloni Winston on News Channel 13!

Did you catch Lexington Executive Director Shaloni Winston on WNYT NewsChannel 13 this past weekend? If not, click on the image below to check out the video and see her talk about our Transitions program, #AutismAwarenessMonth and more! To learn more about Transitions, visit www.transitionsusa.org! #TransitionsUSA

Andrew Carpenter Accepts International Award

Andrew, standing on left, with his family in Tampa.        

Andrew, standing on left, with his family in Tampa.       

Andrew Carpenter, a student at Transitions of the Fulton County-based The Arc, Lexington, NY, today accepted a “Yes I Can” award from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

Andrew was one of only 12 students who received the prestigious international award. The presentation took place this morning at CEC’s annual Special Education Convention & Expo in Tampa. 

Andrew, who is affected by Autism, attends Lexington’s renowned Transitions program and is studying communications at Fulton-Montgomery Community College. He enrolled in Transitions after graduating from Gloversville High School in 2015. Andrew says Transitions is helping him learn a variety of skills to prepare for independent living, including organizational skills, managing money, cooking and social skills.

His success in the program earned him the “Yes I Can” award.

 “So many things are different now. I have more friends than I ever had in high school,” Andrew said. “I have improved my social life and can talk to people with confidence, use the bus, and go to professors for help if I need it. Autism doesn’t define who I am or who I will be. I have so much more to look forward to in my life and I am only 20. I can’t wait to see what is next for me.”                

CEC is a professional association of educators dedicated to advancing the educational success of children and youth with exceptionalities. The “Yes I Can” program recognizes the accomplishments of students with exceptionalities in six categories: academics, arts, school and community activities, self-advocacy, technology, and transition. Andrew’s award is in the transition category.

Andrew has had an enriching experience since arriving at Transitions in 2015. In July of 2016, he joined Lexington’s immensely popular band Flame as a vocalist after he was overheard singing in the hallway at Transitions. The group is made up of people with disabilities and has played on world stages, last traveling to Carpi, Italy, in May 2017 to perform at the 19th International Festival of Different Abilities.

“We are so proud of him, as we are with all of our students. Everything changed when Andrew enrolled in Transitions,” said Lexington Executive Director Shaloni Winston. “After just a few weeks in this post-secondary program for young adults with learning differences, Andrew embraced the curriculum and gained a wealth of new skills. Through self-advocacy and leadership classes, he learned how to speak up for himself, advocate for his needs, set long-term goals and identify the steps he needs to take to accomplish those goals. He is a true success story. We can’t wait to welcome him home.”

Northville Library Art Show to Feature Lexington and Transitions Artists

Artists from Lexington’s Creative Expressions program and the Transitions program will be featured in a Sacandaga Valley Arts Network (SVAN) art show at the Northville Library Gallery, located at 341 S. Third Street, Northville. The show will run from October 31 to December 28, 2017. The public is welcome to attend a Meet the Artists reception on Tuesday, November 14, from 6-8 p.m.

The show features collaborative splatter paintings based on the work of Jackson Pollock, a 20th century American painter who helped pioneer the abstract expressionism movement of spontaneous, emotional, abstracted art. The Transitions students were inspired to research and study the movement and Pollock’s technique after a docent-led tour of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, where they saw original pieces by Pollock and many of his peers.

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The artists who collaborated on the Creative Expressions piece include Bobby Carr, Richard Freeman, Dennis Hoyer, Caroline Pendlebury, Adrienne Phillips, Thelma Senecal, Taylor Skinner, Debbie Woodruff and Mikyle Woodward. The artists who collaborated on the Transitions piece include Zen Anderson, Lacy Brower, Maria Bucholtz, Greg Clicquennoi, Josh Corbett, Olivia Esposito, Joe Magliocca, Eric Noonan, Noah Pappas, Maggie Roarke, Marybeth Sefcovic, Bethany Sweet and Kristen Troy. 

The Northville Library Gallery is open to the public Monday, Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to noon; Tuesday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Wednesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is free of admission. Visitwww.svanarts.org or call the gallery at (518) 863-6922 for more information about this show.

Lexington’s Creative Expressions program is committed to creating inspired living through the arts. The program promotes independence and choice through outcome-based programs and involvement in the community. Goals focus on social activity, creativity, talent, choice, exercise, self-worth, skill-building, and health and wellness awareness. Creative Expressions artists have participated in many local exhibitions, won several prestigious awards and sold more than 100 pieces of art. For more information about Creative Expressions, call Lexington at (518) 773-7931 or visit www.lexingtoncenter.org

Transitions is an apprenticeship program that supports young adults with learning differences ages 18-27 as they attend college, get their first jobs and live independently for the first time. Its innovative curriculum covers social skills, health and wellness, independent life, self-management, and self-advocacy and leadership. The program also offers career success and exploration classes, coordinates internships in local businesses and provides job coaching and mentorship opportunities. For more information about this unique program, visit www.transitionsusa.org or call (518) 775-5384.

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.

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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.

Transitions and Fulton - Montgomery Community College introduce Certificate of Completion in Career and Life Studies

Transitions and the State University of New York at Fulton-Montgomery Community College (FMCC) are excited to announce a partnership to offer a Certificate of Completion in Career and Life Studies. The new certificate program combines credit-bearing courses at FMCC with a non-credit curriculum at Transitions to help students develop executive functioning skills, learn how to be successful at work and in life, build independent living skills and strengthen self-management, advocacy and leadership skills.

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“We are grateful to the partnership and support that the State University of New York at Fulton-Montgomery Community College has provided in developing and offering this new Certificate in Career and Life Studies,” said Jennifer Feagles, LMSW, Director of Transitions. “This will provide a certificate to the young adults who are ready to pursue their independence and career goals after high school.”

The Certificate of Completion in Career and Life Studies will assist students such as Marybeth, an active, social and career-minded 22-year-old who was very different before she joined the program. Back then, she was quiet, cripplingly shy and lacking direction or job prospects.

“I didn’t have many friends,” Marybeth said. “I was shy. My mom would have to find ways to get me out of the house.”

When she joined Transitions, Marybeth gained access to internship opportunities in a variety of businesses as well as classes that helped her improve her social, organizational, time management, executive functioning and independent living skills. With the help of those classes, career success courses at FMCC and her current internship at Harvey’s Home, Garden and Pet Center, Marybeth is well on her way to achieving her goal of obtaining a job in her dream field of working with animals.

Transitions, a post-secondary program that helps young adults with autism and other learning differences achieve success after high school, helped Marybeth overcome all her personal obstacles and more. And now, through this partnership with FMCC, Transitions can do even more to prepare her for success in life beyond the program.

“This partnership with FMCC will provide life-changing opportunities for our students,” said Shaloni Winston, founder of Transitions and Executive Director of Lexington - Fulton County Chapter, NYSARC, Inc. “Pursuing a Certificate of Completion in Career and Life Studies will give them not only a quality education that truly prepares them to live and work independently, but also the invaluable experience of being part of college campus life with peers in a similar stage in life, with all the same goals and challenges. Everyone deserves a career they love and a life they control themselves. This certificate program will help realize that dream for many young adults.”

To obtain the Certificate of Completion in Career and Life Studies, students will take credit-bearing classes in career exploration and preparation, resume and cover letter preparation, job interviewing and professional self-presentation at FMCC, and non-credit bearing classes in time management, organization, social success, wellness, self-advocacy and independent living skills at Transitions.

A minimum of 250 hours of on-the-job internship experience at community businesses with graduated levels of responsibility will be required for each student. Transitions staff will provide job coaching, liaise with employers and encourage communication skills that will lead to success in future employment. They will also liaise with the college staff to assist the student in receiving academic support and learning skills needed to complete schoolwork and interact success fully with peers and professors. All students will have full access to the college’s library, gym, clubs and other resources.

“FMCC is proud to partner with Transitions to provide this certificate program for their students,” said Dustin Swanger, Ed.D., president of FMCC. “We believe that education enhances everyone’s life, and receiving a validation of that education in the form of an official certificate not only provides a conclusion to any given program, it becomes a symbol of pride for the learner for years to come.”

This program is suited but not limited to students with learning differences, such as autism spectrum disorder, learning differences and ADHD. Students may attain their certificate on a full-time or part-time basis. Student apartment living with a focus on learning independent living skills is also available for full-time students.

In the two years since its creation, Transitions has already made a significant difference in the lives of dozens of young people who have enrolled in camps, events and full-year programs at its Mayfield campus. This certificate program is an opportunity to marry the immersive lessons of Transitions to FMCC’s fully integrated college environment, giving students a life-altering experience that will set them on the path to success throughout the rest of their lives.

To learn more and to apply, please visit www.transitionsusa.org, contact (518) 775-5384 or email admissions@transitionsusa.org.

Transitions Now Offering Let's Get Organized Classes

If you know a young adult who has trouble with organization, getting things done on time, handling papers or homework, and overall doing tasks that require “executive functioning,” we have a solution. Starting April 25th, we are presenting Let’s Get Organized!, a series of classes aimed at improving these skills for youth with learning differences.

What:
• Curriculum “Seeing My Time” by Marydee Sklar- visual tools for executive functioning success
• Classes cover self-assessment, organization, time management, handling papers and using a planner

Who:
• Teens or young adults ages 15-20

Where:
Transitions
2736 State Highway 30
Mayfield, NY 12117

When:
• April 25, May 2, May 9 from 5 pm to 6:30 pm. These three classes cover part of the curriculum, with more classes planned in the future

Taught by:
• Certified “Seeing My Time” instructors Erin Hollenbeck and Heidi West

Cost:
• Cost is $49 for the three classes

For more information and to register, please contact:
Terry Williams, Transitions Admissions Coordinator
(518) 775-5384 admissions@transitionsusa.org

Marydee Sklar is Coming to Transitions on October 18 to discuss Building Executive Function Skills: Time Management, Planning and Organization!

Everyone struggles to stay on top of things sometimes, but does your student, son or daughter have frequent and serious trouble with:

  • Procrastination?
  • Staying focused?
  • Losing track of time?
  • Turning in assignments late, incomplete or not at all?
  • Losing belongings?
  • Starting and/or completing things?
  • Managing multi-step tasks?
  • Acting without thinking?

If you answered yes to several of these questions, you might benefit from attending Marydee Sklar’s seminar on:
Building Executive Function Skills: Time Management, Planning and Organization

This is an interactive, hands-on workshop that will give you tools to help students understand the connection between their brain development and their behaviors tied to time management, planning and organization. You will come away armed with tools, strategies and practical knowledge to help students strengthen executive function skills and become more productive. Feel free to apply what you’ve learned to improve your own time management as well!

For nearly twenty years Marydee Sklar has specialized in teaching the executive function skills of time management, planning, and organization to families and adults. Her latest book: 50 Tips to Help Students Succeed-Develop Your Student’s Time-Management and Executive Skills for Life is designed to bring relief to anxious and frustrated parents concerned about the school success of their child or teen. Her Seeing My Time books are used in private practice settings, middle schools, high schools, and colleges. The instructor’s manual for her Seeing My Time workbook won a gold medal in the education/academia category of the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. More information may be found at https://executivefunctioningsuccess.com.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

Lexington Center Adaptive Sports Programming By Chris Shook

Transitions alumnus Chris Shook, an aspiring journalist, interned in the Lexington Communications Department during his time at the program. One of his assignments at the internship was to write an article about a Lexington topic, and he chose the adaptive sports program. Read on to hear his take on how Lexington gives the people it supports new and exciting athletic experiences in the outdoors!


Lexington Center Adaptive Sports Programming
By Chris Shook

Having a physical or developmental difference shouldn’t prevent anyone from having fun or participating in sports. Lexington believes this wholeheartedly, and for that reason they provide two related athletic programs to the people they support: adaptive sports and the Special Olympics.

The adaptive sports are regular sports modified to fit individuals who are differently abled. The adaptations cater to individuals who are blind or have problems with mobility – namely, those who are in a wheelchair. The program at Lexington takes its participants sailing in the summertime and skiing in the winter.

The Special Olympics are typically for people with intellectual differences. Today Special Olympics programs provide year-round training and competition to people in 170 countries around the world, but the organization started out much smaller. In 1962, Eunice Kennedy Shriver noticed that people with intellectual differences had few opportunities and felt they were being treated unfairly. She began it that summer as a day camp in her back yard. Similar camps started growing across the country and by 1968, the program had spread to Canada as well. The first international games were held that year in Chicago. Now, more than 4 million athletes compete in Special Olympics games internationally each year, with events held every day at every level on every continent.

Lexington incorporates their adaptive sports program into their Special Olympics games. In addition to sailing and skiing, Lexington Special Olympic athletes compete in softball, basketball, volleyball, hula-hooping, 125-meter dashes, bobsled, Frisbee, and track and field. There are some adaptations in the other sports as well; for example, the baskets are lower than typical in basketball and softball uses larger bases. The games take place at Lexington’s location at the former Bishop Burke High School. Eighty-five percent of the athletes who participate earn a medal.

In past years, there have been about 30 athletes in the sailing program and about 15 in skiing. The skiing began 10 to 12 years ago, while sailing was added to the program 8 years ago. Skiing is available from January until April at Windham Mountain Ski Resort in the Catskill Mountains and sailing takes place from June to September at Lake George.

“The athletes receive help from people who are trained by people who specialize in helping people with disabilities,” said Bonnie Reuss, the administrator of the adaptive sports program at Lexington. She added that she is “proud of the accomplishments of the athletes.”

According to Reuss, sailing is a bit easier for the athletes than skiing. Staff use Hoyer Lifts to get the athletes onto the boats, which have to be very stable, and they go sailing in the afternoon. 

The skiers, who are a bit more adventurous, navigate the slopes in the mornings on bi-skis. These special pieces of equipment, which look like chairs with skis on the bottom, are specifically designed for individuals with mobility challenges. Other individuals can ski behind the bi-skiers and help guide them down the slopes.

Athletes who participate in adaptive sports must practice frequently and exercise patience. They do compete with each other, but it’s really more about fun. Lexington’s adaptive sports have all been successful – in more than ten years, there have been no injuries and everyone has been well prepared. Lexington is looking to add more sports to the program so athletes can have even more opportunities to experience the gratification and exhilaration of sports.

The athletes seem to enjoy participating in the adaptive sports program, too. Crystal White has done adaptive sailing as well as the Special Olympics, and she loved her experiences. White competed in beanbag throwing and finished second in the wheelchair races last spring’s games. She said the Special Olympics coaches and volunteers are absolutely essential to the success of the competition.

“The way they help us compete is by setting up practice rounds,” she said, “and they require us to do 12 practices to see what level we’re on.”    

One of those coaches is Lynette May. She was a volunteer for 15 years until 2011, when she decided to become an official coach. May coaches the Frisbee activities and the 125-meter dashes. Teams are separated not by gender, but by level of skill and capability. May said the age group of athletes ranges from 20 to 80 and older – whoever wants to participate is welcome.

Lexington has many adaptive sports athletes, all of whom had to overcome their challenges to play sports. Lexington has had a lot of success getting these unique individuals who wanted to participate in sports the chance to shine, an opportunity they don’t often get.

The benefit of this program isn’t just in fitness goals achieved or medals won. More than that, it’s the sense of pride and confidence the experience gives the athletes. If they see that they can participate in these sports despite their differences, it proves to them they can do anything they want.

Transitions presents PEERS® Social Success Course

Is there a young adult in your life who could use some help in social situations?
Starting this January, Transitions is presenting PEERS®,
an in-depth course aimed at
helping young people succeed socially. Anyone within the targeted age group can register.

What is PEERS®?
• The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills
• A manualized social skills training intervention for adolescents and young adults
• Developed at UCLA in 2005 by Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson and
• Dr. Fred Frankel

PEERS® will help the students with:
• Interacting with others
• Developing relationships
• Entering groups
• Building confidence in social situations
• Navigating bumps in relationships
• And more!

Who can take the PEERS® course?
• PEERS® has a strong evidence base for use with teens and young adults with autism spectrum disorder.
• It is also appropriate for teens and young adults with ADHD, anxiety, depression and other socioemotional problems.
• Students should be either high schoolers in grades 9 to 12 or young adults ages 18 to 26.
• Each student must also have a “coach” attend sessions at the same time as them with a different instructor.
     o Coaches can be parents, caregivers, siblings or anyone committed to helping the student
     succeed socially.
     o Coaches will learn to develop and encourage the skills learned.

Important facts:
• This 16-week course takes place every Tuesday from January 5 to April 19 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
• The cost is $350 and covers both the student and the coach. Scholarships may be available upon request.
• All classes take place at Transitions, 2736 State Highway 30, Gloversville, 12078.
• The instructors for this course are Certified PEERS® Instructors Mary Kaye Ormiston, speech-language therapist and behaviorist, and Victoria Morrison, speech-language pathologist.

For more information and to register, call Terry Williams at (518) 775-5384 or email williat@lexcenter.org.

Click here to download a flyer.

Transitions to Present Free Webcast Series Hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Transition Innovation

Transitions, a supportive apprenticeship program for young adults with learning differences who want to attend college, get a job or live independently, is excited to announce a 3-part webcast series regarding the transition of youth and young adults with autism spectrum disorders from high school to postsecondary education and the community. In these free webcasts, hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Transition Innovation, Shaloni Winston and Nancy DeSando will discuss their practices and efforts with youth and young adults with autism spectrum disorders. College opportunities for people with autism and learning disabilities will be included in the discussion.

On Aug. 12 at 3 p.m., the public can view “Transition to Postsecondary Education for Students with ASD: What Families and Students Need to Know.” This webcast will highlight efforts in upstate New York to promote the transition process to postsecondary education for students with ASD. Suggestions for parents and students will be provided.

On Aug. 27 at 3 p.m., the public can view “What Works: Person Centered Planning for the Transition Process to Postsecondary Education.” This webcast will focus on how Lexington, the Fulton County chapter of NYSARC, Inc., uses a person-centered planning process for youth with ASD as they transition to postsecondary education and training.

Finally, on Sept. 9 at 3 p.m., the public can view “Transition to Independent Living Settings for Youth with ASD.” Staff from the Transitions will provide tips based on their work with young adults as they make the transition to independent living.

The sessions are prerecorded, but viewers who have questions can email them to the presenters. The webcasts will also be archived on the Center on Transition Innovation’s website. For more information and to register for the series, visit www.centerontransition.org/training/upcoming.cfm.

What:  Transitions to Postsecondary Education webcast series presented by Shaloni Winston and Nancy DeSando, hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Transition Innovation

When:  WEDNESDAY, AUG. 12, 2015 3 P.M.
             THURSDAY, AUG. 27, 2015 3 P.M.
             WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 9, 2015 3 P.M.

Where:  Hosted online at www.centerontransition.org

Cost : FREE

Contact and Pre-Registration info:  www.centerontransition.org/training/upcoming.cfm

About VCU Center on Transition Innovation
The VCU Center on Transition Innovation is a portal of information for the transition of youth with disabilities out of supportive environments into competitive employment and higher education. It provides resources, research, fact sheets, demonstration, emerging practices, online courses, videos, webcasts and more to educators, parents, professionals and others with an interest in supporting young adults with learning differences to lead independent lives. Visit www.centerontransition.org for more information.

About Transitions
Transitions is a supportive apprenticeship for young men and women with autism spectrum disorders including Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia, nonverbal learning disabilities, visual or hearing impairments, medical conditions and other learning differences 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.  Both full-year College and Career Apprenticeship programs are offered, as well as a three-week Summer Immersion Experience.  Visit www.transitionsusa.org for more information.

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.