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)"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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

Avery Sunshine is known for her irresistible combination of soul, jazz and gospel influences. She’s traveled the world entertaining audiences with her powerful voice, inspiring lyrics and infectious spirit. She joins host Shawna Renee on "The Soul Lounge" to perform and share the stories behind her new album, "The Sun Room."