Commission for Citizens with Disabilities


Established by the City Council ion 1983, the Commission for Citizens with Disabilities is a 9-member body appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council.  At least five of the nine members must be persons with a disability.  The Executive Director, appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council, carries out the administrative functions of the Commission.

The Commission is charged with exploring issues relating to accessibility, inclusion and taking action to ensure the equal status of persons with disabilities.  The Commission supports a variety of programs, including:

  • Architectural reviews to ensure compliance with the ADA
  • Dementia-related projects
  • Housing stabilization supports
  • Snow removal for disabled homeowners
  • Special needs exercise for adults with disabilities

The Commission raised fund and designed the city’s first wheelchair-accessible playground and sensory garden @ Buttonwood Park; it was a community build project, assembled and dedicated in 2008.

Commission Members

  • Cynthia Wallquist, Exec. Director
  • Dennis DeMarinis, Jr., Chair
  • Kimberli Bettencourt, Vice Chair
  • Esperanza Alejandro-Berube, Clerk
  • Marsha F. Fernandes, Treasurer
  • Linda Haskins
  • Audra DePina
  • John Lobo
  • Sylvia Chew
  • Martha Reed

Commission for Disabilities Contact:  Cynthia Wallquist, Executive Director

Phone:  508.997.4893            E-Mail:

ADA Coordinator Contact:  Debra Lee

Phone:  508.991.6251  


The Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) is pleased to announce that we are now accepting submissions for our 2017 Call for Art and juried art exhibition. We are calling on talented Massachusetts residents of all abilities to submit an original work which captures the theme of “Breaking Barriers.”  The barriers persons with disabilities sometimes encounter are not only physical, but also societal. Selected entries will be displayed at a public exhibition in late 2017 (date to be determined) and in an online gallery.

Part of our inspiration for this exhibition relates to a piece of artwork currently displayed in MOD created by Maurice “Pops” Peterson, Artist in Residence of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD).  His work, “Freedom from Shame,” shown above, artistically captures our theme through its depiction of an athlete with a disability in a moment of victory and celebration. A central purpose in holding this exhibition is to showcase the talent of our Commonwealth residents and to present works to the public that will raise awareness of and challenge the barriers and stigma that persons with disabilities often encounter. The exhibition will deliver the important message that ability comes in all forms.

Artists who enter the Call for Art will have an opportunity to gain statewide exposure and recognition in addition to experiencing the process of entering their work for consideration for display in a juried art show.


Pops Peterson, Artist in Residence of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination;
Marian Brown, Founding Executive Director of Arts Connect International;
David D’Arcangelo, Director of the Massachusetts Office on Disability;
Ken Strickland, Provost of the Massachusetts College of Art & Design;
Charles J. Washburn, Vice President & COO of VSA Massachusetts.

Read juror biographies

The Call for Art is open to all Massachusetts residents ages 18 and over. Out-of-state students of Massachusetts colleges and universities are eligible.  Submissions must be original two-dimensional works of visual art (includes photography) depicting the theme of “Breaking Barriers.” Submissions will be accepted starting February 1, 2017 through August 1, 2017. Each entry will be reviewed by the Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) and jury. Selected entries will be displayed at an exhibition and published in our photo gallery or homepage, social media channels, and Massachusetts Office on Disability publications.

Entries will be accepted through an online submission form. You will be required to upload a photo of your original work. If your work is selected to be part of the exhibition, you will be required to send the original piece to the Massachusetts Office on Disability at a later date to be determined. Original works must be two-dimensional and not exceed 36” in any direction.

Click here to submit your artwork!

For more information visit:

To request reasonable accommodation(s), please contact MOD’s ADA Coordinator at 617-727-7440 x27324 or by email at