Smart Art Spaces

Holistic Arts and Wellness: Heidi Gallery at JSDD Hosted First Juried Art Show

The JSDD WAE Center (Jewish Service for the Developmentally Disabled’s Wellness, Art, and Enrichment Center) hosted its first juried art show with successful opening and closing shows at its Heidi Gallery in Livingston, NJ, featuring holistic art and inclusive initiatives. With a focus on adaptive arts and making artfully inclusive, the art show included a variety of 33 artists and 45 works in different art mediums. Running from October 20, 2022, through December 15, 2022, the free admission, opening and closing receptions, and “Best in Show Award” really helped promote the artists to the Livingston art community. Smart Art Spaces was happy to attend and support this great show in December.



Teddi Dolph, co-chair of the Heidi Gallery at JSDD and a board member of JSDD, said, “I feel that the “WAE Open” was absolutely magical and the perfect way to introduce ourselves to the community.  So much of our JSDD community came out to support the show, as well as the gallery.  But, at the same time so much of the community at large came out in support of this fabulous new art venue in their backyard.  So many different groups came for the opening of the inaugural show and then also for our different programs.  We couldn’t have asked for more.  Our goal with the Heidi Gallery at JSDD is to bring the community together through the arts in a fully inclusive environment, we achieved that goal and are committed to continuing this quest.”

Inclusive Art Gallery

Located at 310 Eisenhower Parkway in Livingston, NJ, the JSDD is truly providing an inclusive art gallery for the local art community to enjoy with its Heidi Gallery.

The inclusive art gallery boasts the art of participants: Bob Barnett, Virginia Schaffer Block, Debrah Block Krol, Avril Bogle, Cheryl Chapin, Sandra Charlap, Pam Cooper, Nate Cox, Louis DiLauri, Lyman Dally, Catherine Delett, Jessica Dounel, Brian Eardley, Peppi Glass, Stephanie Guillen, Adam Gustavson, Beth Heit, Phebe Khalil, Yvette Lucas, Maria Lupo, Robbie Matos, Chrissy McIntyre, Pamela Moore, Jeremy Moss, Liz Murphy, Jamarr Neyland, Carol Nussbaum, Chas Palminteri, Katharine Philip, Ksenija Puskaric, Kari Smith, Grace Santo, and Rebecca Simon.

The Heidi Gallery at JSDD had a wonderful curator and jury committee for this exhibit, Diedra Harris-Kelly, and it was installed by the Heidi Gallery Committee Comprised of: Teddi Dolph, Heidi Katz (for whom the Gallery is named). Jeremy Moss, Phoebe Pollinger, Marilynn Schneider, Adam Swart, and Ellen Weinstock.

Monica Schneider-Brewer is one of the WAE Center officials, and looking back at the show’s success, she says, “Breathing life into the very first Open Exhibit held at Heidi Gallery was a labor of love. With a stellar advisory committee comprised of experts in art, education, and inclusion the WAE Open reflected the mission of Heidi Gallery pointedly. Artists with widely divergent backgrounds, providing work of diverse media created a beautiful opportunity for our Juror to select a stunning show.”

Adaptive Arts 

Adaptive arts focus on making art accessible to all students of different abilities. This empowers the artist to make the necessary adjustments with tools to express themselves by painting, drawing, or sculpting. These modifications could address a variety of challenges with expression from fine motor skills and frustration with the art making process. In education, this has become an essential movement within the special needs curriculum to enable artistic minds with developmental disabilities to flourish within the arts. 

With the first juried show, the JSDD WAE Center went the extra mile to include a variety of art forms, too. The addition of both an ekphrastic poetry reading and an artists tour provided patrons of the exhibit with an interactive and well-rounded art gallery show. 

Diedra Harris-Kelly, MFA, Juror for The WAE Open, states, “It was an honor to work with the first juried show of the Heidi Gallery and juror the first-ever WAE Open. The artworks chosen for this exhibition show a variety of contemporary topics and techniques – photography, collage, ink drawings, encaustic paintings, and ceramic sculptural forms. Many works employ traditional mediums that push boundaries and reorient ways of seeing.”

Harris-Kelly is an arts administrator who co-directs the Romare Bearden Foundation. She has extensive curatorial experience with photography, painting, archival prints, and contemporary art.

Wellness – Holistic Art 

When we talk about wellness, we often imagine self-care and checking off health goals, but we sometimes forget the power that recreational hobbies and holistic arts have on the human mind. The JSDD opened the Heidi Gallery in 2021 as part of fostering a fully inclusive art community with its 2,000 square foot space dedicated to art. The program itself focuses on holistic arts learning for adults with developmental disabilities, and key programs support personal goals to empower artists to enjoy the personal and professional benefits of art. 

Founded in 2004, the JSDD’s WAE Center is an adult day program dedicated to “finding the spark within” for individuals with developmental disabilities. Located in Livingston, NJ, the Heidi Gallery now offers a space for artists of various abilities to participate in an inclusive art space. For more information, please, visit: or visit the gallery at 310 Eisenhower Parkway in Livingston, NJ. Call 973-272-7148 to check for hours, upcoming events, and ways for you to support the adaptive arts. 

To see more photos and highlights from the show, click below:



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