Art is a window to the potential and beauty of individuals with disAbilities.
Art whispers, lures, and transforms the heart.
Art seduces the eyes then burrows into the heart’s core truth, transcending the societal barriers of stereotypes and labels.
The first sentence is one I penned at least a decade ago or more to express what I saw could happen with art and artists with disAbilities. Monthly, if not weekly, increasingly, I see this played out in the life of my 20-year-old artist daughter who has autism.
Moderately severe autism. Intellectual disAbilities. Inability to communicate conversationally. Attention Deficit Disorder.
These are labels she has been given. I don't fight them. They are statements of fact about her. But they are not the ALL of her.
Art. Art transcends the barriers of these labels. The behaviors and ways of being differently in our world. Two decades into this journey I am mostly over the once-upon-a-time trauma of the following but its existence is still very real: I see the perceptions in the eyes of someone who looks askew at my daughter or who makes and holds assumptions about all that she cannot "do." In contrast, I see their eyes light with surprise when they see the oddly behaving package in front of them can create something of such beauty.
Not everyone with autism or other disAbilities are visual artists but their ability to contribute...if only by their simply BEING in our world...is a gift equally valuable and worthy of celebration. But, art. Art is that bridge for the naysayers, the Doubting Thomases, those that hold beliefs and stereotypes of inferiority and inability.
Come see: On the grounds of the nationally famous Loveless Cafe, now through Sept. 30, Shimai Pottery and Gifts—which carries GraceArt, the art merchandise line of my daughter, Grace Walker Goad, year-round, also has a small Studio Gallery with a special group show. On Sat., September 13, 5-7 PM, Shimai will host a reception for the artists and their work highlighted in the group show, "Emerging: Three Young Artists with disAbilities." Featured artists include Goad, Preston Vienneau and Donald Werther.