An Irrepressible Gift
Two pottery pieces by Kristen Dockendorff were just some of the art work on display in CHANGE, a juried exhibition of local artists sponsored by the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism (CCCT). Photo by CCCT staff.
Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, landmark legislation that illegalizes discrimination against people with mental or physical disabilities. The historic anniversary was marked nationwide in venues ranging from the Ohio State House, which hosted the unveiling of a 160-square-foot mural created by more than 30 local artists with disabilities, to the U.S. House of Representatives where U.S. Representative Jim Langevin (RI-2nd District), who is quadraplegic, presided over the House for the first time.
The Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism (CCCT) started its ADA anniversary celebration a little early with the opening of CHANGE, a juried exhibit of visual art by more than 18 Connecticut artists with disabilities. A partnership project with VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, the exhibit is on view through August 20 in CCCT's Hartford gallery. According to the exhibit organizers, the goal of the exhibit "is to provide an accessible venue to display artwork by artists with disabilities while modeling accessibility accommodations so all may enjoy the art. . . The CHANGE exhibition celebrates the creativity and accomplishments of artists with disabilities and advocates for community awareness of people with disabilities---both for the positive influence of the arts and for the understanding of the disability experience."
Lidded Vessel, Blues and Greens and Golden Treasure by artist Kristen Dockendorff are two of the works on display in CHANGE. In her artist statement Dockendorff wrote, "The innate desire to create is not bound by physical or mental disability. Art is a language spoken by the heart and soul. I am often asked by my art students how I can be an artist when I don?t see well and I tell them art is in my heart. Flexibility is part of creativity and I think to be a person with desire to communicate through visual expression is an irrepressible gift."