Imagine a place where you constantly felt loved, supported, inspired and challenged. Imagine how it would feel to know that, every day, you are appreciated and valued. Imagine having a home away from home where you are always accepted and cherished as the unique individual that you are. For 46 years, ReFocus has been changing the lives of their Clients. This Human Services Agency gives adults with physical and developmental disabilities the opportunity to thrive, in a loving and safe environment, through the opportunity to maintain as much independence as possible, have privacy and security, and to feel valued. What began as a safe haven for adults with differing abilities has evolved into an environment for personal growth and success, for every life it touches. From the very first day that ReFocus opened its doors, Christine Kavanagh, RSM, our Executive Director at ReFocus, has been touching the lives of every Client, Staff, and individual in the Agency family.
Four years ago, I accepted the position of Pottery Instructor and I thought that I would be simply teaching pottery and ‘helping adults make art to sell at local Farmers Markets”. I had just moved to Rhode Island and wasn’t familiar with what a Human Services Agency was, and knew little about working with adults with physical and developmental disabilities, but teaching pottery sounded like something I could do successfully. Today, I recognize that what I accepted, was being welcomed into a new family, and the opportunity to make my wildest dreams come true.
When anyone asks me what working at ReFocus means to me, I say, “It is the ability to run and push myself as hard and as far as I possibly can. If I ever get to the point where I am worn-out and collapse, Chris picks me up, dusts me off, gives me a glass of Pinot Grigio, and sincerely wants me to do what is best for myself; be that saying ‘enough is enough’ or proceeding on full-steam ahead.” Through Chris, ReFocus betters the lives of its Staff the same way we better the lives of our Clients. Every affiliate of our Agency receives the same opportunities for growth in a loving, trusting, and challenging environment.
Every Client, Staff, Administrator, Board Member, and Donor is made to feel that they are loved and belong as a member of the ReFocus Family. And, to me, that is something truly unique. This year’s exhibition and the Artist Statements are definitive proof of the love, support, sanctuary and home she has provided to so many of us.
The Cup Show, is composed of 65 individual vignettes, in conjunction with an artist statement or a photograph of the creator in a moment of creation. Vignettes have been created by potters from The Little Clay Studio (TLC Studio) along with Clients, Staff, Agency Board Members and longtime supporters of ReFocus, Inc. Each author chose to express personal characteristics, experiences of knowledge, moments of challenges, fear, loss and success.
Individuals were given slip cast cups with the prompts to:
1) paint or draw a photo of what ReFocus means to you, or
2) decorate the cup in a way that represents you, or
3) experiment with the material and techniques.
These directions were personalized and based on the capability of each artist. Through the use of slip cast cups, the opportunity of artistic expression was offered to a wider population of creators. This also provided an opportunity, for those unfamiliar with ceramics, to explore the medium and process. Through the presentation of artist statements, we provided the artists the opportunity to express moments that were central to them. Their artist statements were transcribed in the exact words of each artist.
Artists were prompted to describe in full sentences: what they painted, why they chose it, how it makes them feel and how they hope it effects the viewer. The Cup Show provides the viewer with an opportunity to see and hear the thoughts of the artist.
When viewing The Cup Show, you are given the opportunity to hear the artist’s voice, and experience their feelings and thoughts. Each and every artist chose to express a moment, particular to them, with its own meaning. It is our hope that you will reflect on these moments, take in their words, and consider how they apply to you. No matter the visual or audible differences, no matter our life choices, paths or directions, humans are exactly the same. We are individuals who ‘use our hearts and minds to express our creativity.’
We hope that you will enjoy these moments of captured experience as much as the artists enjoyed creating them for you.
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