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CATA is preparing for a virtual gala fundraiser on May 9.

Community Access to the Arts to Host Virtual Gala

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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Community Access to the Arts presents its virtual gala and performance on Saturday, May 9, from 5 to 6 p.m. 

The event is free to attend and takes place entirely online here. Prior to the event, CATA launches a weeklong celebration with videos and digital performances beginning Monday, May 4. The celebration culminates in a gala evening, which includes the debut of a short film showcasing the talents of people with disabilities as well as a virtual paddle-raise auction to support CATA programs.

Each May for more than 20 years, CATA has presented a live performance and gala at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox that shares the talents of artists with disabilities in acting, dance, singing, drumming, juggling, and more. When CATA suspended its in-person programs and rehearsals in early March due to the COVID-19 crisis, the organization quickly worked to reinvent their flagship public event as an online performance.

"Even in difficult times, our mission is clear," said CATA Executive Director Margaret Keller. "To bring joy to people with disabilities through the arts — and to share their creative spirit with our community. We knew we couldn't skip that. And the gala is a critical fundraiser for CATA — one-third of our annual budget comes from gala donations."

Since the pandemic began, CATA has launched a series of dynamic online programs to reach people with disabilities isolated by the pandemic. Funds raised from CATA's virtual gala will go to support those programs.

"These online workshops are vital to combating isolation for CATA artists," Keller said. "We need our community's support to sustain programs for people with disabilities, to keep them connected, inspired, and fulfilled. Without those donations, CATA simply can’t happen."

For the gala evening, CATA has been working with local filmmaker Ben Hillman to reinvent their live performance as an imaginative film that will take viewers behind the scenes and share the talents of artists with disabilities. The film will be followed by a virtual paddle-raise auction to raise money for CATA programs.

"It's a unique chance for our audience and supporters to see the work they make possible every day," Artistic Director Dawn Lane said. "Our virtual gala will take viewers behind the scenes and connect them with CATA artists like never before."

CATA’s virtual gala is free and open to the public. Attendees are asked to RSVP here.

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Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires Names Treasurer, Trustee

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — W. Scott Rogers has joined the Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires as treasurer and member of the Board of Trustees. 

Rogers has more than 30 years of experience as a professional economist, including more than 20 years in senior roles at the International Monetary Fund. His expertise in both the government and corporate sectors covers fiscal, monetary and exchange rate policy, debt management, inflation risk management, and national energy planning. 

"Scott's extensive international experience will bring a new, broader perspective to our board," said Arthur M. Peisner, VIM's chairman of the board.  "At the same time, his current service as chair of the Finance Committee for the town of Windsor ensures he's deeply aware of the needs of our rural population. He will be an integral member of the VIM team at a time of unprecedented challenge for our patient base."

From 1992 to 2014, Rogers served in a variety of roles at the International Monetary Fund. As mission chief to Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Cape Verde, Burundi and Eritrea, he led the IMF's financial negotiations and annual country consultations and helped design economic and financial policy frameworks to promote sustainable economic growth.  While at the IMF, Scott also served as senior resident representative to Nigeria, Kenya and the Federal Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and was a senior economist and desk officer for Uganda.  

Before joining the IMF, Rogers was a senior economist in the International Economics Department at DRI/McGraw Hill, an economist in the Industrial Countries Division at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and an economic associate in the National Center for the Analysis of Energy Systems at Brookhaven National Laboratory. 

Rogers and his wife Susan Phillips live in Windsor, Mass. They have two grown children whom they don't see enough. He received a B.A. in economics from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. in economics, with concentrations in applied macroeconomics, and international and development economics from Boston University. 

VIM's mission is to provide access to quality health care for income-qualified, uninsured and underinsured adults living in the Berkshire region. VIM provides free, integrated medical and dental care, behavioral health services, optometry, nutrition counseling, massage and acupuncture and has pioneered Shared Medical Appointments and a Non-Opioid Pain Management Program in Berkshire County.  

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