Starlight Studio and Art Gallery is a cooperative environment that supports adults with disabilities in their artistic development. Through technical assistance by professional artists, on-site and off-site exhibitions and other opportunities for representation and sales, the Starlight artists hone their artistic interests, become stronger advocates and better integrated citizens.
Starlight Studio and Art Gallery opened as a day habilitation program by the Learning Disabilities Association of Western New York (LDA of WNY) in August 2005 with funds from the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities. Starlight is modeled after a dynamic art program in California that was observed by an LDA staff member when he lived and worked in that area. An art lover himself, Marc Hennig was determined to bring this effective model to the artistic people with disabilities in Western New York.
The mission of the Learning Disabilities Association of Western New York is to provide high-quality individualized, comprehensive, and innovative services, which support, educate, and empower individuals with learning disabilities and/or developmental disabilities.
LDA of WNY’s legacy is a grandmother’s love. When Mrs. Howard’s grandson experienced significant learning difficulties at school in April 1965, Rachel Howard sought help from Dr. Robert Warner from The Children’s Rehabilitation Center who suggested a potential learning disability. Research was beginning to show that as many as one of every seven students might have a learning disability.
Mrs. Howard agreed to help establish a support group for parents of children with suspected learning disabilities. Within five years, this parent support group grew from its original 9 members to a WNY chapter of nearly 500.
Today LDA of WNY serves over 1200 individuals in eight counties of Western New York annually, receives funding from a variety of sources, offers a full range of support services and remains unique in its service to the learning disabled population. The majority of the Board of Directors continues to be composed of parents and individuals with learning disabilities.