MiAA Hosts First Online Festival

MiAA hosted the 29th Annual Southeast Regional Festival online this year, in partnership with Eastern Michigan University’s Music Therapy Department, Michigan State University Community Music School-Detroit and Creative Arts Therapies. The festival, entitled “Celebrate Abilities!” took place on June 13, 2020 from 11 am until 2 pm.

The Covid-19 Pandemic prohibited MiAA from holding the face-to-face festival, which celebrates the arts with performances by, and activities for people with disabilities. “Because the festival draws hundreds of participants annually and provides an important venue for people with disabilities to perform, we decided we needed to find a way to continue with the event, but do it in a safe way” remarked MiAA Executive Director, Michael Gielniak.

A picture of a client in sunglasses playing electric guitar on camera from his bedroom.

Jody Conradi Stark, MiAA Board Treasurer, music therapist, and Chair of the annual event agreed. Through her tireless efforts, Dr. Stark was able to organize therapists, students and clients from the partner organizations, collect recorded performances and secure the necessary releases and a HIPPA compliant platform to host the event. Drs. Gielniak and Stark were also able to secure the generous support of visual artist Daniel Cascardo, art therapist Lynn Newman, dancer Lisa LaMarre, and dance therapist, Cindy Babcock to provide interactive sessions throughout the festival.

We would especially like to thank our long-time sponsor of our Southeast Regional Festival, CVS Health, for sticking with us through the pandemic and supporting our experiment with an online festival. Although there were a few technical glitches during the day, everyone had a great time and the festival was a resounding success!

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