On Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, the Kentucky Arts Council — in partnership with the Council on Developmental Disabilities — opened the identity exhibit at the Weber Gallery in Louisville. Artists, their friends and art appreciators braved the snow to participate in a conversation about disability, art and the role each plays in shaping a person’s identity, and vice versa.
Thanks in large part to the professionalism and hospitality of the the Council on Developmental Disabilities, the event was a huge success in terms of attendance. Identity also accomplished exactly what we set out to do — a diverse group of people acknowledged and appreciated the careers of artists with disabilities and the value of their artwork. This “value” was recognized literally in some cases, as pieces sold throughout the night.
Artist Carol Shutt wrote of the event, “What stuck out in my mind was that there didn’t seem to be a lot of little groups clustered together talking. Visitors and staff sought out artists and artists sought out other artists. Except for me and my scooter, it was hard to tell who was disabled until you talked to them, and even then you couldn’t be sure! I think there is a great lesson to be taken from that!”
Photographer Dale Arnett artfully captured the inclusive interactions described by Carol.
The identity exhibit will be open at the Weber Gallery by appointment through Feb. 28. Pieces from the exhibit will also appear at Kentucky Crafted:The Market, March 8-9. From there it will travel to the Houchens Gallery at the Capital Arts Center in Bowling Green, Ky.
Sarah Schmitt, arts access director