Wednesday, August 28, 2013

FYI, Artists With Disabilities


Still Life, Tabletop by Christina Woo from the DAC Gallery on Amazon.com/Art
The DACGallery, an LAbased art gallery representing 140 professional artists with developmental disabilities, is one of a small number of galleries participating in the new Amazon.com, Inc. fine art store. Amazon Art launched on Tuesday, August 6th at http://amazon.com/art (Search DAC Gallery).
The DAC Gallery is the exhibition space and storefront for ECF Art Centers, an adult professional art program of the nonprofit Exceptional Children's Foundation (ECF). Founded in 1946, ECF provides programs and services to adults, students, and children with special needs at 15 locations throughout Los Angeles County. ECF's Art Centers program was created in 1968 and has four professional art studios in addition to the DAC Gallery.
Under the mentorship of MFA level art teachers, the adult artists at each of these studios are supported with a place to work each day, art supplies, instruction and representation through the DAC Gallery. Artists from each of the studios will be participating in the Amazon Art program.
"We have worked hard to create a professional level art program for our artists with special needs. Being selected to participate in the launch of the Amazon art program is a testament to us reaching that goal," said Allen Terrell, ECF's Art Centers Director. "We are the only art gallery that exclusively represents artists with special needs participating in the launch of Amazon's fine art store Amazon Art."
In addition to exhibiting their work throughout the region, the DAC Gallery artists have extensive resumes, some having shown at the Smithsonian Institution and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Armory in New York City, the Los Angeles Art Show, and numerous galleries throughout Southern California.
"ECF has worked hard to make professional art training accessible to people of all abilities," said Dr. Scott Bowling, President & CEO of ECF. "We are excited to partner with Amazon on this project because we believe Amazon is going to make high quality, original artwork accessible.

Link to story.
Meanwhile closer to home (in Edmonton)...

The Nina, as it is nicknamed, provides the space and materials for artists with developmental disabilities to paint, draw, dance, work in clay and make prints.
An Edmonton arts facility is in danger of shutting down unless it receives a muchneeded cash boost. The Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts must raise $250,000 by Nov. 30 to make the loan payment on its 118th Street location. The Nina, as it is nicknamed, provides the space and materials for artists with developmental disabilities to paint, draw, dance, work in clay and make prints.
Each week, more than 160 artists use the facility – and many go on to show their work in galleries and exhibitions across Canada and overseas. But artistic director Paul Freeman says the centre is about much more than just an art space.
He says the space offers disabled people a way to change how they see themselves. "Often when we meet someone here, they'll tell us about their disability and their group home … and when they've spent some time with us, had some exhibitions with us … the story that they tell us about who they are really starts to shift into ‘I'm a painter...’”
The centre first opened its doors four years ago with funding aid from the province and city. Now, Freeman says, it is time for the centre to make good on that promise. “They were very generous in supporting us and getting us here in the first place, and so we feel not only an obligation to keep our promises, but also to demonstrate to those government funders that ideas like this are worth taking risks on.”
The Stollery Charitable Foundation has pledged to match every dollar fundraised by the centre to a maximum of $125,000, which would cover the rest of the Nina’s annual mortgage payment.
However, with the September fundraising deadline looming near, Freeman said staff are now in “crunch mode.” “It’s not just about keeping these doors open,” he said. “It’s also about keeping these artists flush with paint and everything else.”
Link to story.

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