News / Arts & Entertainment

Artists with Disabilities Showcase Their Talents

Artists with Disabilities Enter Mainstream Through Arti
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
Julie Taboh
April 09, 2014 12:41 PM
Very often people with developmental disabilities are better able to express themselves in images than in words. That’s one of the reasons an art studio in Washington DC has designed a program to help artists with disabilities express and support themselves in a number of creative ways. VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports.
Vanessa Monroe is a visual artist who draws inspiration from the world around her.

Today she’s painting a wooden birdhouse at an art studio in Washington, D.C., that helps artists with disabilities express and support themselves.

Monroe has a mild intellectual disability, the result of a rare genetic disorder. But that hasn’t stopped her from creating intricate, one-of-a-kind-pieces that are in high demand at home as well as overseas. In addition to her birdhouse, she’s also finishing off a colorful watercolor depicting a bride and groom that she created for an international client.

“I finished my commission about two married couples,” she announced triumphantly. “It makes me proud and it makes me feel good inside.”
Visual artist Vanessa Monroe at Art Enables, a non-profit gallery and studio in Washington, D.C.. (J. Taboh/VOA)Visual artist Vanessa Monroe at Art Enables, a non-profit gallery and studio in Washington, D.C.. (J. Taboh/VOA)
Mara Clawson, 22, likes to
create images with nature-based themes.

“I started drawing watercolors since I was two or three," she said. "I just love art.”

Clawson also suffers from a hereditary disease that has resulted in a mild learning disability, but she doesn’t think about that when she’s in the studio with other artists.

“It’s nice and peaceful and we can get along with each other,” she said.

Art Enables

The two women are regular participants in a program at Art Enables, a non-profit gallery and studio in Washington.
"So happy to see you" artwork by Darnell Curtis (Photo courtesy Art Enables)


​Now in its 12th year, the gallery offers an open, quiet space to about 30 local artists with a variety of intellectual or developmental disabilities that include but are not limited to Down Syndrome, Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury and Bipolar Disorder.

The artists come from all backgrounds and ethnicities and range in age from 21 to 78 years old.

Mary Liniger, Executive Director of Art Enables, said the purpose of the program is twofold; “to represent and support our artists and then also to show the different ways that people who are marginalized can communicate through the visual arts.”

Professional artists

The gallery provides the artists with professional materials, their own web page, and marketing support to help them succeed as professional artists. “Our artists have at least 10 shows a year here as well as other shows throughout the city,” she said, “and whenever our artists sell a piece, whether it’s here in the gallery, off of our website or at one of their outside shows, they receive a 60 percent commission from those sales.”

The artists' work ranges from original, framed pieces to mugs, calendars and notecards depicting their work. They also receive numerous orders from around the world.

“We have had buyers as far away as Germany, Japan, Australia,” said Liniger. “Last year we sold over $84,000 worth of artwork and our average piece is around $100.”

“Having people recognize the talents and the skills of these artists is really important,” she added; “it’s a source of identity and of pride.”

Art Coordinator Beth Baldwin is there for support, and to encourage the artists with projects that she thinks are going to be marketable.

“For me as an artist too, just the whole aspect of documenting your work and publicizing your work and getting your work framed and out there into the public is a huge drain on your [re]sources,” she said. “And for our artists to just be able to come in and create and that’s the only thing they have to worry about and concern themselves with, is fantastic.”  

Vanessa Monroe appreciates the support.

“I feel real good," she said, “’cause I’m drawing my art and I’m selling it.”

And that, said Beth Baldwin, is what Art Enables is all about.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kevin from: Australia
April 18, 2014 9:23 AM
Hi VOA
What a lovely article.
Thrilled to inform you that ASD athlete, artist & autism ambassador, Patrick Francis won the National Inspiration Award for outstanding achievement at the Aspect National Recognition Awards 2014 Australia. Well deserved!!! He does FREE art exhibitions promoting disability awareness and assists fundraisers, see more at: patrick-francis.weebly.com
Perhaps he could join forced with this group and do international exhibitions promoting disability awareness.

https://www.facebook.com/AutismSpectrumAustralia/photos/pcb.10152367688221228/10152367676456228/?&theater
http://www.autismspectrum.org.au/news/aspect-national-recognition-awards

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”