Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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OPWDD Celebrates Art by Individuals from the Institute for Community Living


ALBANY—It is crucial that individuals with developmental disabilities have access to the services and opportunities that improve the quality of their lives. That was the message delivered this week by Commissioner Courtney Burke of the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) at an event celebrating the artwork of eight men and women supported by the Institute for Community Living (ICL), an OPWDD regulated nonprofit provider.

The artwork, commissioned by OPWDD, was presented to the commissioner on Wednesday by ICL art teacher Dylan Stanfield and his students. Painted on plywood, the mural is a portrait of the artists: a representation of the daily experiences people living with developmental disabilities have in their home and community lives. It also speaks to the power and therapeutic elements of art expression for individuals living with developmental and intellectual disabilities, and is an example of the unique perspective they offer.

Stanfield said “It made sense to create a mural as a portrait of the community that OPWDD serves by the people they serve.”

Commissioner Burke said, “ICL’s art program really makes a difference in the lives of these individuals. OPWDD is committed to transforming our system, through the 1115 federal waiver, to provide the individuals in our care with access to innovative supports and services that greatly improve their overall quality of life. I thank the artists for sharing their gift with us, and ICL for investing in such a meaningful program, which will become increasingly more common across the state in the coming months and years.”

Dr. Peter C. Campanelli, ICL founder, president, and chief executive officer said, “Art is a powerful communication tool that can speak for us even when words are ineffective. We are incredibly proud of the achievements of the eight ICL artists who worked collaboratively to create the remarkable and complex 8’ by 12’ mural that will be on permanent display at OPWDD. These men and women have intellectual or developmental disabilities, and some are also visually challenged, yet the barriers they may face in their daily lives disappear when it comes to expressing themselves through art. Their voices, through this artwork, reach us and touch our common spirit of love, joy, and inspiration.”

To view pictures from this event, please visit OPWDD’s Facebook page. 


OPWDD is responsible for coordinating services for more than 126,000 New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, and other disabilities. It provides services directly and through a vast network of approximately 700 nonprofit agencies.

About ICL

The Institute for Community Living, Inc. (ICL) was founded in 1986 and is a nonprofit agency that assists individuals with psychiatric, intellectual, and/or developmental disabilities. At the heart of ICL are the people that are served and the communities in which they live. The agency provides evidence-based and best-practice innovative treatments, rehabilitation programs, and support services to over 8,000 adults, children, and families in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; offers more than 1,400 housing units and a comprehensive system of clinical treatment options; and operates a shelter in Queens for 243 veterans and a Brooklyn shelter for women with mental illness.