By: GREENWICHFREEPRESS | November 19, 2014

Misa Shimada, whose artwork graced a magnet that is for sale by Abilis, with Shaina Vaness, an Abilis residential manager. Credit: Leslie Yager
Susie Figgie’s artwork graces the cover of the 2015 Abilis weekly planner. The colors are warm and rich. The image is entitled “When Harry met Danielle,” and Susie painted it for her brother Harry on the eve of his wedding to Danielle. In fact the back cover of the planner — which every busy Greenwichite can use! — is a note from Susie thanking her brother for finding Abilis for her.


YMCA CEO Ed Philipp and Abilis Executive Director Lolli Ross at the Abilis art show Wednesday night. Credit: Leslie Yager


On a frigid midweek night in Greenwich, the YMCA’s new ADA compliant entrance and foyer afforded broad expanses of walls perfect for the warm hues of Abilis artwork.

YMCA CEO Ed Philipp and Abilis Executive Director Lolli Ross welcomed everyone to what was officially billed as the launch of the 2015 planner.

Ross said Abilis started the art program last year, and and thanked Ed Phillip for inviting the Abilis artist community to display their artwork at the YMCA.

“We have a lot of white walls here and Abilis had a lot of great art that wasn’t hung anywhere. How great is that, that they can have their artwork shown for 12,000 people a month who come through our doors.” – Ed Phillip, CEO of Greenwich YMCA

“One of the things we were able to do with our partnership with Abilis was, we recently got a grant from the Abilis Foundation to add the Motomed,” Phillip said, referring to the specialized piece of exercise equipment in the YMCA’s wellness center that can work out a person’s arms and legs. “To my knowledge it’s the one in Town outside of the high school,” he added. “If you’re interested in that, please contact me. We’re really excited to service more people in Town.”

“When people see my art, they can see that I am smart… They can see who I really am and I love that.” – Artist Krity Kasmarski

Allison Carballo, Director of Advancement at Abilis, with Luis Velazques, the Director of Employment Services for the non-profit. Credit: Leslie Yager
Throughout the art show, the Abilis artists had a chance to answer questions about the artwork. Many of the paintings had been reduced in size to fit blank note cards, sold in boxed sets, which, like the 2015 planners, were selling like hotcakes.

Art show patrons were treated to cookies and cider, as well as beautiful magnets featuring Figgie’s “When Harry Met Danielle” painting.

Susie Figgie whose painting graces the cover of the 2015 Abilis weekly planner, available for sale at the Abilis gift shop for $20.00. Credit: Leslie Yager
Abilis, previously known as Greenwich ARC, began in town in 1951 when parents of the local Junior League and Community Chest joined forces to help children with developmental disabilities. Today Abilis meets the needs of a wide array of individuals with developmental disabilities from childhood to adulthood.

The organization provides employment services for adults and residential support to adults in more than a dozen homes owned by Abilis in Greenwich in Stamford, as well as help people live more independently in apartments and condominiums.

Stop by the YMCA foyer to see the Abilis artworks. Also, the planners and note cards are available for purchase at the Abilis gift shop at 50 Glenville Street. Follow Abilis on Facebook.

Add the Abilis gift shop to your list of holiday shopping destinations. They have a wide array of one-of-a-kind gifts, including handmade soaps.

Gina Lopriori beside her painting entitled “Boat Dock” in the stairwell in the YMCA’s lobby during the art opening on Wednesday night. Credit: Leslie Yager

To read the original story, click here