Most adult services are tasked with helping people with daily activities and life skills; not self-expression. The University of Idaho’s Center on Disabilities and Human Development (CDHD) supports a trainee-led project called artAbility. artAbility creates a safe and supportive space for artistic expression and exploration for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Our broad, interdisciplinary approach allows us to engage many diverse populations within the community, while also providing adults with disabilities a service that was previously inaccessible. Each year, a UCEDD trainee directs the artAbility project with the support of the CDHD staff. The trainee begins by securing funding in the form of grants. To best serve the Moscow, Idaho – Pullman, Washington area, the project staff collaborate with local self-advocates to hear their ideas and requests of what they would like from the art workshops. Local professional artists are identified to lead the workshops and University of Idaho student volunteers are recruited. Students attend a training session led by a self-advocate on disability etiquette and people first language. The artAbility project strives to engage the Moscow-Pullman community by hosting a culminating public Showcase displaying participants’ work. The Showcase stimulates conversation and interaction among people with different abilities. In respect to ‘art’ and all forms of expression that encompasses, artAbility focuses on fine arts and less tradition media such as instrumental music, poetry, and photography. The artAbility project, including the workshops, community participation, and the Showcase, empowers adults with disabilities through self-expression.
To learn more visit us at https://idahocdhd.org/Projects/artAbilityAll or find us on Facebook @artAbiliity.cdhd
Image Description: Ernesto Marquez Montes, the current artAbility director, works with Hannah Jehn and her mother, Nora Jehn. Nora is holding paintbrush in her right hand over Hannah’s art piece. Hannah is adding collage pieces with her right hand.