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By the time she was 20, Mariam Paré was already an accomplished artist. She had grown up painting and drawing, and was pursuing her bachelor’s degree in fine arts. But when gunfire suddenly erupted while she was driving to visit a friend in Virginia, a stray bullet passed through the car door,...
Four disabled performers dressed as Wizard of Oz characters
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and I’ve been taking some time to think about how the NEA can help improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities. In September...
Not long ago after a Joyful Chorus performance, one audience member was dumbfounded. She was the occupational therapist of one of the choir members, and even though she had worked closely with the child, she was struck by the performance. “She said, ‘I have never seen this student be so attentive...
With over 500 artist residency programs in the United States, and over 1,500 residencies worldwide, only one of these art programs was considered “deaf-friendly” prior to 2014. That program was offered by Siena Art Institute, located in Italy. In 2014, with support from the NEA, The Anderson Center...
Regan Linton grew up as a performer and an athlete. But after a car accident left her in a wheelchair during her junior year of college, she assumed the door had permanently closed to a life in the arts. But then she discovered Phamaly Theatre Company , a frequent NEA grantee. Based in Denver,...
"There are many professions in this world, that legitimately, if you have a disability, you might not be able to do. If I'm in a wheelchair, I might not ever be able to work construction on a high-rise building. If I'm blind, I might not ever be able to be a brain surgeon. But as artists, we create...
The motto of Washington, DC’s Gallaudet University —“There is no other place like this in the world—is not mere hyperbole. Founded in the late 19th century, Gallaudet is the world’s only higher education institution for the deaf and hard of hearing. It has also become an architectural laboratory of...
When Roger Ideishi was helping a Philadelphia aquarium develop programming for children with cognitive and sensory disorders, he surveyed parents to see whether or not they thought their child would engage with programming by touching a starfish. “Every single parent said their child would not...
Click the link to take a look at the 2018 NEA Guide for details on the programs and activities of the NEA, as well as funding deadlines and information on Grants for Organizations, Literature Fellowships, Lifetime Honors, and Partnerships.
Viewers of the 2017 National Memorial Day concert in Washington, D.C., observed a unique performance when Captain Luis Avila sang “God Bless America” with singer Renee Fleming . This may not seem extraordinary—unless you know what Captain Avila looks like. Wheelchair-bound, he had difficulty...

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