written by Megan Landrum, Community Support Supervisor, Brooklyn Day Habilitation
As Chad DeRoche, Alex Torres, and I rode the 3 train from Nevins Street to Penn Station we talked about New Jersey. Chad had taken a train into New Jersey before to visit his family. They live in a house with a parking lot. It’s near a basketball court and a buffet restaurant. Chad remembered being dependent on cars to get everywhere during his visit. It’s a fact of suburban New Jersey life that he doesn’t like.
We were headed to New Jersey because a few weeks earlier, by happy chance, I had met Margaret, a curator at Arts Unbound, a studio and gallery for seniors and artists with disabilities. Art Saves Lives is a mantra that appears again and again on the walls and artwork at the gallery.
The theme of this month’s group show, up from May 6th to May 28th, is soft sculpture. When Margaret mentioned this I immediately thought of Chad’s artwork–his sleeping bag, his pillow, his tent. I showed her the ArteMoose Collective’s website. Chad is a founding member and there are lots of photographs of his work and even a short video about him on the site. Margaret fell in love with the sleeping bag at first sight. This was a common refrain we heard at the opening reception. All night people approached Chad to tell him how much they loved and admired his work.
The opening reception on the night of May 7th was a small, classy affair complete with wine, cheese, chocolate chip cookies. We sipped on ginger ale and talked to the gallery’s director, curators, and interns. We spoke to other artists in the group show. One woman designed silk scarves, a man around Chad’s age made jewelry, and a group of elderly women handmade a collection of dolls. Alex even tried on a handmade yarn wig! Everyone was very welcoming and we were invited to come back anytime. We were also invited to submit work to future exhibitions and open calls.
The Arts Unbound community was very impressed by all of the work that the ArteMoose Collective artists have been doing. One of the gallery curators lives in Brooklyn and a studio visit to Brooklyn Day Hab may be in the future. We had a great time at the opening reception and we’re grateful to have participated.