Happy New Year!

January is an exciting time for WXXI, as it marks the eleventh year of Dialogue on Disability: The Herman & Margaret Schwartz Community Series. This annual outreach initiative with the Al Sigl Community of Agencies – designed to encourage community dialogue about the abilities of people with disabilities and the importance of inclusion – kicks off on Monday, January 7th. WXXI has put together a full week of special programming on television, radio, and on screen to encourage conversation around the issues people with disabilities face. The centerpiece of this year’s initiative is a special screening at The Little of “Shooting Beauty,” a film that tells the story of an aspiring fashion photographer whose life is transformed when she starts a photography program for individuals with disabilities. WXXI will host two free screening of the film at The theatre on Monday, January 14 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. After the 6 p.m. screening, we’ll “Skype in” the director, Courtney Bent, for a discussion about the film. For a complete list of our Dialogue on Disability programs, visit WXXI.org/dod.

Partnerships, like the one WXXI has with the Al Sigl, help both organizations present a stronger and more focused effort to bring about change in our community. The same holds true with our partnership with the Little Theatre. This month we celebrate the one year anniversary of our new relationship with The Little. This partnership has proven to be mutually beneficial, supplying The Little with the resources and support needed to move toward greater sustainability and providing WXXI a venue to offer screening of some very important documentaries. Over the past year we’ve hosted a number of screenings including "Bully", "Half the Sky", and "Solar Mamas", as well as the premiere of our own Frank Lloyd Wright’s Boynton House: The Next 100& Years. Many of these films were followed by panel discussions designed to encourage movie-goers to “Share the Experience” of film.

This partnership has also moved the Little Theatre toward a more solid financial future. During Thanksgiving weekend, The Little saw a 20% increase in attendance from last Thanksgiving, and sales were up 40%. It’s been a great partnership and a great year, but we still have a lot of work to do. Now we’re focused on bringing The Little into the digital age. You will be hearing more about our “Go Public” Campaign to raise funds for this critical work to take The Little into the future with new digital projectors and sound, while preserving the ability to show archival films and to partner with the many film festivals in our region.

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