Our mission is to bring awareness to the community about people living with disabilities and to provide opportunities for those people. To realize that we all have challenges and that tolerance and understanding is paramount.
Nineteen years ago, a rare disease rendered David New deaf, blind, and paralyzed from the waist down. Rejecting his doctors’ terminal diagnosis, defying all odds, David learned to walk again and gradually regained his hearing, though he did not regain his sight.
Multi-talented, he has since become a steadfast advocate for people with disabilities, creates glass sculptures, founded several companies and non-profits, and has embarked on a new venture, the South Beach Jazz Festival, www.sobejazzfestival.com.
As a fundraiser for David’s non-profit organization, Power Access, the South Beach Jazz Festival is an event unlike any other. “Each musical performance will showcase the artistry of at least one person with a disability,” said David. “The sheer talent of the artists will promote the festival’s dual goal, to entertain, and to define others by ability rather than disability. The festival is all about bringing our community together through the universal sound of music.”
David was born and raised in Philadelphia and began his university studies at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. He continued his education at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. An artist at heart, David worked in his family’s furniture business while creating his own interior design firm, R. David New Interior Design. He relocated to South Florida in 2000 and continued pursuing his passion for art and design.
“As a visual artist my whole life, I was missing a component. I had to rethink everything. I got more involved in the community. I started new organizations and non-profits,” adds David.
David works tirelessly to break down barriers and to educate people about living and working with people with disabilities. In addition to serving as president of Power Access Inc. and Ability Explosion®, he was chairman of the Miami Beach Disability Access Committee for six years until January 2016, where he is still instilled as a member. David was the founder of the Miami Beach Council of the Blind, an affiliate of the Florida Council and the American Council of the Blind. In 2012, he took over Access Now Inc., which is an advocacy organization for enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act. With Access Now, David is working to build the first fully accessible art museum in the world located in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
Through Power Access and Access Now, his two non-profit organizations, David provides programs and produces experiential events centered around building awareness of the challenges faced by people with disabilities, including Dining in the Dark, Disability Awareness Day and the South Beach Jazz Festival.
David recently reignited his lifelong passion for creating art when he learned about a new 3-D laser technology for creating laser-etched glass sculptures, a perfect medium for his visionary mind and imagination. He was introduced to the machinery, serendipitously located in Miami – the only one of its kind in the country. He designs the concept, the imagery, dimensions, and presentations, as well as the polished stainless-steel bases and glass specifications. David’s work has been exhibited in art galleries, at Art Basel Miami and he has plans to open a gallery on Miami Beach.