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Rockville Centre group celebrates inclusion through art at Molloy College

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Members of Backyard Players & Friends, a Rockville Centre nonprofit organization that provides programs for people with developmental disabilities, performed and displayed artwork at Molloy College on March 28 at an inclusive event presented by the school’s Rebecca Center for Music Therapy.

“The creative energy you see tonight is a product of the philosophy of our organization,” said Backyard Players Co-Founder Ryan Delaney. “We believe in inclusion. Through inclusion, there is diversity and strength.”

Projects by the Backyard Players & Friends included an “Entwined” gold tree, inspired by work by Judith Scott, a world-renowned sculptor with Down Syndrome; Kindness Rocks, which will be scattered through the community; a Keeping Quilt, inspired by a book by Patricia Polacco, which combined squares that represented the Backyard Players members’ own personalities and families; and the Ribbon Hut, which uses reclaimed wood, bamboo poles and recycled fabrics.

In addition, artists in the Rockville Centre group’s CARE program took inspiration from painters Yayoi Kusama and Agnes Martin to create meditative paintings designed to evoke emotions. From happiness inspired by an Italian ice to finding the light in a dark place, each artist’s work reflected a unique and personal experience.

Sara Kosiner presented her collage of photos, called “Friends in Motion,” which she had taken over the past year at various Backyard Players classes and events, including Zumba and yoga classes and the village’s St. Patrick’s Parade. Others took to the stage, where they were joined by the Molloy community, to dance and sing.

“We work to give every single person a space so that together we can share ideas and experience openness, joy and creativity,” Delaney said. “Inclusion inspires creativity and we hope to spread this message from our programs out into the world.”