Community Access Art Party / by Paul Castrucci

Paul Castrucci supports Community Access programs for sustainable housing for mentally ill and the homeless. Each year Community Access has an Art Party Benefit to support The Art Collective – one of NYC’s most unique art programs. As an artist and avid collector Paul Castrucci attended their signature fundraiser and networking event. Meeting with the program directors, artists, and junior board members made for a memorable event for a phenomenal cause.

Paul A. Castrucci Architect firm attended the event and interviewed staff and artists on their experiences and the importance of the community impact The Art Collective has. For many of the artists participating in the collective is a daily activity. The "artist business" hours are Monday/Tuesday 10-6pm, Wednesday 10-4pm and Friday 10-5pm.  Non members are welcome to visit, perform, and conduct workshops but are strongly encouraged to contact Amy Sharp, Art Collective Director. "The artists are often doing field trips and attending educational events," said Amy Sharp. Artist Shaka Williams was one of the most out going artists and spoke of why fierce animals and dinosaurs inspire him.  

John Smith was generous with Paul A. Castrucci and gave him a signed postcard of "Subway Ride". He is part of the Peer-to-Peer Workshop program and actively participate in the collaborative ethos of Art Collective.

Artist Susan Zelin stated on her Art Collective profile, "like John Smith said and others who watch me do my art, I’ve gotten better and better. I use to keep everything a secret and not be able to trust. Now I’m able to come out of my shell, little by little, as I grow in the Art Collective world because we are all family."  At the benefit event, one could see her confidence and she when so far as to talk about her father and how he was a photographer to the stars during the golden age of Hollywood.

Artist Lillian Harrison encouraged us to place a bid or view the works online because 60% of the proceeds go toward the artist and the rest is invested into communal art supplies. She stated, "There are no limits. You start or begin somewhere and you have no idea where it’s going to take you. "

One of the most professional and confident artists in the collective, Pablo D. Martinez, has an artistic business called Capricorn Media Productions. He has found that, "Art is a communication tool. A tool in which needs practice to master and a persistence to understand it and master it to it's most potential.

Founded in 1974, Community Access is one of the oldest and largest non-profits in NYC dedicated to helping individuals and families overcome mental illness and homelessness. The agency’s programs enable over 10,000 people every year to connect to affordable housing, job training, crisis supports, educational opportunities, and much more! Its celebrated Art Collective, established in 1988, is an artist studio and workshop that uses the power of art, creativity and self-reflection, to help individuals overcome psychiatric disabilities.