MN UCEDD Sponsors Art and Disability Symposium

September 25, 2009

The painting
The painting "Ruth, Line and Color" by Christi Furnas, is part of a current exhibit at ICI by artists from VSA arts Minnesota, one of the symposium co-sponsors.

A symposium focusing on strengthening opportunities for children, youth and adults with disabilities to participate in the arts will be held at the University of Minnesota's Weisman Art Museum on October 30th. "Changing Landscapes: Symposium on the Arts & Disability" is being sponsored by a coalition of University and community organizations - including the Institute on Community Integration (MN UCEDD) - to bring together artists with disabilities, disability service providers, arts instructors, arts advocates, University faculty and students, and others from around the state to share ideas for supporting and increasing involvement of individuals with disabilities in the arts.

"We're really excited about this event," says symposium co-coordinator Megan Dushin. "Bringing together such great talent and speakers is sure to spark new ideas and new directions. We have a nationally-known keynote speaker, Tom di Maria, who is director of Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, California. They're a leader in fostering and exhibiting creativity by artists with disabilities internationally. We also have experienced panelists including arts faculty, our program partners, and artists. And we'll have several exhibits on campus by Minnesota artists with disabilities."

Funded by two grants to the Institute, the symposium is being co-sponsored with the Weisman and Disability Services at the University, and by VSA arts of Minnesota, Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts, Rise Inc., and Partnership Resources Inc. in the community. "We are so grateful to our funders and partners for supporting this landmark event," says symposium co-coordinator Pat Salmi. "The success of the Changing Landscapes exhibits at ICI over the past two years gave us the idea to try to reach a larger audience with the message of inclusion in the arts for people with disabilities. Thanks to funding from the University's Office of the Vice President and Vice Provost for Equity and Diversity, and the University's Imagine Fund (supported by a generous donation from the McKnight Foundation), as well as the commitment of all the partners in this project, that early idea is becoming a reality."

For further information view ICI's website.