One of my favorite places that offers people with disabilities opportunities to be creative is the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts (The Nina) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I was never able to go and play there, because it was intended for individuals with intellectual disabilities; but believe me, it looked like it would be a blast. I did, however, take a young man with Down syndrome there, and got the chance to watch him and the other artists do their thing. Since I was there last, they have added dance instruction and exposure to other arts.
I’m not gonna lie–I was so jealous! Most of the art centers that exist are for people with developmental disabilities. I suppose people figure that we can fend for ourselves, but I never found another place that could work for my needs. Living in Asheville, NC, hasn’t really given me that, either. I don’t know exactly why so many of the programs for people with disabilities aren’t for people with all disabilities. I love what Open Hearts Art Center does, and I’d love to be part of it. They only serve people with developmental disabilities, so that let me out.
Shortbus Studios in Burnsville, NC has people drawing shirts and selling them in a store in downtown Asheville. They film videos that are on Youtube.
There are smaller programs doing different things here, but many of them aren’t as inclusive as I would hope they would be. It’s always been my dream to do something cross-disability where people can use their strengths to help other people with disabilities. I have no idea how it would work, and I don’t know who to ask.
I guess this is a plea for truly inclusive art. Not for just people with developmental disabilities, but for all of us who bear the label “disabled.”
This shirt is being sold by Shortbus Studios.