Kennedy Center calendar artwork raises awareness

The vibrant colors and unique designs that are hallmarks of the Kennedy Center’s annual calendar can be spotted hanging up in cubicles, offices and homes throughout the region and beyond.

“A Unique Perspective: The Kennedy Center Calendar” celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, with the publication of the 2014 calendar. The Trumbull-based Kennedy Center annually supports 2,400 individuals with disabilities with vocational, residential, educational, therapeutic, social, and recreational services.

The calendar has become a central part of the center’s efforts to raise awareness about people with disabilities and the work the center does to support its clients.

“It all began with Lynn McCrystal, who was an art therapist at the time,” Kennedy Center President and CEO Martin Schwartz said. “She recognized the talent of the many people with intellectual disabilities that we serve.”

Printed annually

The idea blossomed into the start of an annual calendar, and pieces of artwork were chosen to accompany each month. The calendars were first sold in local bookstores, until People’s United Bank became a sponsor.

The People’s United Community Foundation now is the calendar’s main sponsor, supporting the printing of 25,000 copies each year and distributing most of those to its customers.

“It’s distributed to all these people who may have not had exposure to individuals with disabilities before, allowing them to appreciate their talents,” Schwartz said.

The calendars also are important for the artists chosen.

The color calendar was designed by Meghan Gerety, a freelance artist in Marfa, Texas, and was printed by Imperial Graphics of Stratford.

Other artwork now on display

The work of about 75 Kennedy Center artists that didn’t make the calendar will be on display at Bridgeport City Hall Annex’s Gallery@999 until the end of January.

The Kennedy Center plans the creation of an Artist Cooperative in Bridgeport, to connect local art organizations, artists without disabilities, local universities, the community at large, and Kennedy Center clients.

The co-op will offer an array of classes, exhibits, performances, poetry readings and other activities.

Learn more about the Kennedy Center at

Kate Czaplinski is the editor of The Trumbull Times and a former editor of the Shelton Herald, both Hersam Acorn Newspapers.