Art Can (and should) Transcend Disabilities

Attending the Frist Center for the Visual Arts family festival on November 12, 2017 was more than just a free fun event to share with my husband and children. It was a chance to demonstrate to my loved ones, and myself, how art can and should be experienced by all. Since substantially losing sight and receiving rehabilitation services, I have set a personal goal annually – goals specifically pertaining to independent living skills development and embracing life as a person with a disability. My 2017 goal was: Find new ways to enjoy art again.

Throughout the year I have been challenging myself to adapt and create. For example, I re-learned the paper folding pattern of a complex origami iris, then made an entire bouquet for a friend’s wedding. Conquering my apprehension of doing visual art without sight, I became hungry to tackle other projects. The Frist’s Extrasensory workshops, based on Nick Cave’s artistic style, provided the perfect opportunity for me to further push my creative boundaries. I participated in the tactile art workshop and created a unique 3-D self-portrait. Incorporating all 5 senses transformed the formerly inaccessible visual art world into an enjoyable inclusive experience.  The theme for this year’s International Day of Persons With Disabilities (IDPD) is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all.” I believe the Frist has captured this theme into   the Extrasensory exhibition which displays the wonderful pieces made by over 900 community members, including those with disabilities. Seeing my artwork not only inspired my family to create their own at the event, but also opened up their minds forever to the endless possibilities of how art can and should transcend disabilities.

You can explore the Nick Cave: Feat exhibition through June 24, 2018 and the companion Extrasensory exhibition at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts through March 25, 2018.

For more details about IDPD, visit:

by April Meredith, IL & Advocacy Specialist