Art Beyond Sight Supporters “Come to the Table” to Celebrate Access and Inclusion

Last night, museum professionals, patrons of the arts, disability rights advocates, and celebrities from New York’s restaurant world convened at the annual Art Beyond Sight (ABS) gala. This event raised awareness of the importance of access to the arts for people with disabilities and celebrated ABS accomplishments in promoting inclusive programming throughout museums, cultural institutions, and education settings. “Come to the Table” served as this year’s theme, and attendees learned about ABS initiatives to use the arts and dining to promote social inclusion.

Painting by Esref Amagan, depicting fruit on a platter.

Painting by Esref Armagan

Guests started the evening by enjoying paintings by artist, Esref Armagan, who is blind. Gennaro Pecchia and Alan Watts, better known as the Men Who Dine, served as MC’s for the evening, and entertained the crowd with their interesting stories and sharp wit. Ford W. Bell, president of the American Alliance of Museums, addressed the need for enhanced accessibility throughout museums and cultural institutions. He also highlighted how ABS is helping to meet these needs. Sheldon Tannen, former co-owner of the 21 Club explained the connection between Art Beyond Sight and the arts of painting and sculpture and the art of food, with a focus on the values that come from sharing a great meal. Tannen also received an award from ABS for his support of accessible arts during a presentation by culinary legend Tony May of restaurant SDS26.

The highlight of the evening was a special performance by children of the New York Institute for Special Education choir. The choir performed “I Got Life,” under the direction of Dr. Naum Shulman. The song was accompanied by a performance by a dancer who is blind.

Art Beyond Sight appreciates the many contributions of those who made the gala a success. We are also grateful for the generosity of those who provide the financial support that enables us to execute programs that promote inclusion through the arts.