Skip to main content


When you walk into Coffee Labs Roasters in Tarrytown this month, you will see the brick wall of the shop lined with intimate photographs of hands. What you won’t see are the talented photographers behind this exhibit – members of YAI’s very own photography club from Tarrytown Day Habilitation program.  

“I got emotional when our exhibit was finally up and it looked really professional,” said Ken Reedy, Supervisor of Curriculum and Workforce Development in Hudson Valley. “You don’t look at it and go, ‘Oh look at the cute photos by people with disabilities,’ you think, 'This is art and it stands up to every other exhibit they have had there.' It’s just awesome to see this happening for the people we support.”

Collection of 3 photos of people looking at photography and photography on the wall
Top photos: Members of the Tarrytown photography club picking photos for their exhibit. Bottom photo: Black and white photographs of hands on display at Coffee Labs Roasters.

The group is showcasing its first exhibit in the community at the local cafe all through May. They were inspired by the “Portraits of Process” exhibit they went to see at the Rockefeller Creative Arts Center. The exhibit documented both the physical realities and personal narratives of contemporary American visual artists through their primary creative process and expression: their hands.  

“This exhibit is a great way for other people with disabilities to see themselves in the people we support and believe that they can do anything – they can be a photographer, they can have an exhibit too,” said Reedy. “Staff should see it too because it’s really cool stuff and can change someone’s life.”

The club of eight members who attend the day hab started about a year ago and meets once a week. Professional photographer Mark Liflander volunteered to help the group get started and taught them the basics of photography – lighting, angles, and portraits. They then went out into the community and shot their assignments on their phones.  

“We’ve tried to have the group see the world with a different lens through this class and it’s culminated into a beautiful gallery that’s been so gratifying to see,” said Laurie Silver-Lewis, a Tarrytown Direct Support Professional who celebrated 40 years at YAI this March and who also co-facilitates the club with Reedy.  

The group curated and collectively chose the pieces on display. They plan to go see the exhibit together for the first time on Wednesday, May 8.  

“I am so excited to see all the cool pictures on the wall, I felt really happy when I heard about it,” said Claire Foley, one of the photographers.  

"The fact that we are part of an exhibit in town will be an education for the general population who tend to have preconceived notions about people with disabilities," added Silver-Lewis. "We hope people in our area will get some joy out of it."