Diversability’s Second Art Night Promotes Awareness, Ability

Diversability held its second annual art night on Wednesday, inviting students to come together and express their views on ability and disability through pencils and paintbrushes.

The student group seeks to raise awareness about issues of disability, including access and unfair assumptions. Started during the 2009-2010 school year, it was recently approved by the Student Activities Commission.

With the walls of McShain Lounge covered in artwork from last year, Diversability volunteers stacked the tables with paper, paints and markers. Attendees were able to work on their own art contributions while discussing the setbacks that face students with disabilities and the alternative abilities that those persons develop. Some students simply wrote words or phrases on the large sheets of paper, while others painted or drew pictures.

This year, the artists focused their efforts on producing portraits of ability. The event aimed to broaden the narrow conceptions of ability and disability and demonstrate areas in which unrecognized ability can be discovered.

According to Eric Reed (COL ’11), president of Diversability, many of the artists this year focused on their definition of ability and messages of hope.

“In terms to approaching the event, this year we wanted to focus more on ability. Last year several of the pieces included some of the older language, such as ‘handicapable’ and applied them in new cool ways. It has become the projecting image for this year, and hopefully we’ll keep running with that,” Reed said.

Diversability currently has 25 official members, four of whom comprise the organization’s board of directors.

“The group is designed to raise awareness and shape how people think about disability,” Diversability’s Director of Public Relations Kate Newman (COL ’13) said.  “We want it to be considered as less of a disadvantage and more of a different quality in a person.”

According to Reed, this year’s event brought out a larger crowd than the inaugural event with about 15 students. Reed said that he looked forward to seeing the results of the artwork.

After last year’s event, the artwork was displayed in Sellinger Lounge. As for this year’s art, Reed hopes it will get the same exposure.

“I hope it will be displayed somewhere to help start a conversation and help publicize,” he said.

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