Art is a window into the beauty and potential of people with disAbilities.
It all started over a cup of coffee. This is music city. Hit songs are penned upon scratch paper in coffeehouses across town. Last June, my coffee collaboration with talented artist Doris Wasserman didn't birth the blues or even a country tune. But, as many know, music is not the only art medium in this town. This Sunday, 3-5 pm, the public is invited to Harpeth Hall School's Marnie Sheridan Gallery—where Wasserman is also gallery director—to see the work of a variety of talented area artists with disAbilities. The show took wings in Wasserman's mind when I shared about my artist daughter, Grace Goad, who has autism, and the many talented artists I represented via Art Tank, a social enterprise I started and ran last year.
The wings of Wasserman's creativity spread to include Harpeth Hall School's Best Buddies chapter in a group art event, that occurred late November. Artists Gary and Evamarie Oglander and others joined the students and Best Buddy members to create some of the art that's currently featured through Feb. 12 at the gallery. But the artistic wingspan didn't stop there. Also included in the show are a few works by the Nashville Coalition of Art Therapists and some of their clients. Another wing of the teaching gallery, that's a popular exhibition space for many Nashville noted artists, will feature 11 fine artists with disAbilities.
The artists represented in the Art Tank portion of exhibition are challenged by mental illness, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease,) Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, and intellectual disAbilities. However, the emphasis is not on the disAbility but the art.
In general, for artists with disAbilities, making art can be challenging because of various communication, intellectual, and physical hurdles. Often artists with disAbilities lack financial, educational, and social opportunities to promote their work. Therefore, it is of great pleasure and importance to promote and exhibit the excellent and capable work of fine artists with disAbilities for the viewing public.
Featured work, "Urban Conversation," by artist Erin Brady Worsham, who has ALS and creates incredible computer art by minute movements of her forehead to which an wired electrobe connects to her computer.