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HAI provides cultural access through music, dance, theatre and the visual arts, reaching out to the frail elderly, mentally and physically disabled, seriously ill children at health and social service facilities, and youth in grades K-12.
When HAI was fuonded in 1969, its principal program was to send professional artists into State psychiatric wards to break up the monotony and depression of institutional living. Since that time, HAI has gone on to develop arts workshops for children and adults living with mental illness; the Studio at HAI for adults with mental illness who are able to travel to the studio alone; the Gallery at HAI; the Cultural Events Program, which makes is possible for adults with limited means and / or mental illness to attend live cultural events in the City; the Describe! Program, which makes live audio description and affordable theatre tickets available to the visually impaired; the Omni*Bus Program, which consists of a three buses designed to accommodate wheel chairs and stretchers; and the Prevention Education Program for students, homeless families, and mentally ill adults in need of conflict resolution skills, academic motivation, and HIV/AIDS education--not to mention expanding the original On-Site Performance Program, which eventually made its way into prisons, detention centers, community centers, senior centers and schools. Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, Bette Midler, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Jennifer Holliday, Whoopi Goldberg, Roberta Flak, Chaka Khan, Sonny Rollins, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee have all worked under the auspices of HAI entertaining and educating NYC's culturally underserved.
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