'Just Kids' Photography-based Exhibit Features Children with Disabilities (GA UCEDD)

April 17, 2017

Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS) exhibits its first photography-based art exhibition - "Just Kids", a documentary and portraiture style look into the lives of families and their loved ones who have an intellectual or developmental disability.

The "Just Kids" exhibit, created by photographer Ryan Johnson, who served as community support specialist at the Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD), includes 18 portraits, five of which are of families that are members of the Chattahoochee Valley Down Syndrome Association.

"Through my work with CLD, I discovered I could combine two of my life's passions and create wonderful family, life stories through photography," said Johnson. Johnson's photos, although family-centered, typically does not focus on the parents, but instead on the child with the disability and their sibling.

"During my shoots, I'm often impacted by the siblings in the family," said Johnson whose father had a brother with Down syndrome. "We ask a lot of the young siblings of children with disabilities, so I always try to include them in the process, and they always end up adding something very special to the picture."

Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD), a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities located at Georgia State University. CLD serves as a bridge between university and community to support people with disabilities and their families in their journey toward a more inclusive and independent life.

GLASS director Pat Herndon is excited about hosting the exhibit due to both the moving subject matter, and because "Just Kids" will be the first GLASS exhibit to subsequently tour the rest of the state.

"We are planning to exhibit at GLASS Atlanta for three to four months before sending it on a tour of other public libraries that could last for up to an additional 12 months," she said. "We hope to begin that tour with the library systems that currently have or at one time have had a Talking Book library or outreach center. Those include libraries in Bainbridge, Augusta, Athens, Rome and Columbus - where the exhibit first began."

The GLASS Atlanta Talking Book Center is located on the fourth floor of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System's Central Library at One Margaret Mitchell Square, downtown Atlanta.