ICI (MN UCEDD) Launches 'Changing Landscapes: The Visiting Artists with Disabilities Project'

January 7, 2008

ICI staff view 'Changing Landscapes: The Visiting Artists with Disabilities Project'
ICI staff view 'Changing Landscapes: The Visiting Artists with Disabilities Project'

On September 17 the Institute on Community Integration (ICI), University of Minnesota, held the opening reception for "Changing Landscapes: The Visiting Artists with Disabilities Project." The year-long project, funded by a $1,500 grant to ICI from the University's College of Education and Human Development, features artwork on loan from three community organizations that support artists with disabilities: Interact Center for Visual and Performing Arts, Partnership Resources, Inc., and Courage Center.

From September 2007 through August 2008, ICI will display - in four-month cycles - three sets of 25 to 30 pieces of artwork by individuals with disabilities from each of the three community organizations, beginning with Interact. The artwork is hung in the hallways, meeting rooms, and other public spaces of the two buildings that house the Institute offices.

At the September opening reception, artists, staff, and other participants from Interact gathered along with ICI staff and guests to celebrate and view the artwork. "This project seems like a perfect fit for ICI given that our mission is all about improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities," said Megan Dushin, co-chair of the project planning committee. "We have an opportunity to both support and benefit from the inspiration of artists with disabilities, and to experience the realities of these artists from their personal viewpoints." Committee co-chair Derek Nord added, "We were really excited to preview the artwork at these organizations during the selection process. Some pieces are really intense and thought-provoking; you could tell the artists were reaching beyond the ‘pretty picture' notion of artwork." Committee member Cliff Poetz notes that the "Changing Landscapes" project is important because, "it brings color to the walls of ICI and helps educate people about what people with disabilities can do."

People view art on display at ICI Minnesota
People view art on display at ICI (MN)

The next opening is scheduled for February, and will feature work from Partnership Resources, Inc., followed by the Courage Center exhibit in late spring. Throughout the year ICI staff will have the opportunity to purchase displayed art and the project planning committee may also purchase pieces for permanent display at ICI.

"Changing Landscapes" is funded by the College-wide grant competition titled, "Building Art Building Community," sponsored by the College Multicultural and Diversity Committee to support multicultural/diverse public art in the College. For more information about "Changing Landscapes" contact Megan or Derek.