Features

“Disabled people have only in recent years gained access to the arts, and even today that access is extremely limited in many cultural institutions. The arts are vital to a sense of cultural belonging, to social cohesion, to a sense of the possibilities in the world. But access to the arts is only...
“Disabled people have only in recent years gained access to the arts, and even today that access is extremely limited in many cultural institutions. The arts are vital to a sense of cultural belonging, to social cohesion, to a sense of the possibilities in the world. But access to the arts is only...
As an actor with autism, Mickey Rowe knows that performers with disabilities have to work harder because they have more to prove. “You are used to going above and beyond, overcompensating, and doing ten times more work just to show people that you are professional and capable,” he said. Which is...
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...

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