A new festival coming to Grand Rapids this spring is on a mission to change perceptions about disability, one work of art at a time.
The inaugural DisArt Festival, to be held from April 10-25, will enliven the city with several expansive disability art exhibitions, a film festival, a fashion show, theatrical and dance performances, and other learning opportunities, all aimed at championing creativity and conquering prejudice in order to unite and strengthen the community at-large.
The centerpiece of the DisArt Festival is ‘Art of the Lived Experiment.’ This exhibition was recently seen at DaDa Fest in Liverpool, England, and will be making its U.S. premiere in Grand Rapids. ‘Art of the Lived Experiment’ will feature the work of 20 internationally renowned disability artists, including sculptor Tony Heaton and performance artist Simon Raven. In addition to these works, six additional North American pieces have been commissioned for the U.S., including those by mixed-media artist Jeremy Burleson and performance artist Raphaelle de Groot. The exhibition was organized by UICA, and will be displayed at UICA, The Fed Galleries at KCAD, and Grand Rapids Art Museum from April 10 – July 31, 2015.
Co-curated by Amanda Cachia and Aaron Williamson for DisArt 2015, the exhibition brings together a range of artworks, including sculpture, video, painting, drawing, photography, ceramics and performance by US and international artists, many showing for the first time in this country. The exhibition can be viewed across three venues, UICA, the Fed Galleries at Kendall College of Art and Design, and the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Process-based and performative work is strongly featured. An introductory ‘Ignition Room’ at UICA presents an eclectic range of historical ephemera that illuminates the exhibition’s themes and includes an acoustic chair, a gold disc and hearing aid as worn by singer Johnnie Ray, and material relating to Goya, Kafka, Isaac Newton, Sarah Bernhardt and Yves Klein. A fully illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition, and an accessible iOS app, 'Access UICA,' that is driven by iBeacon technology will be active at all three venues.
ART OF THE LIVED EXPERIMENT ARTISTS
Raphaëlle de Groot
The Vacuum Cleaner
Sinéad and Hugh O’Donnell
"UICA Receives Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wege Foundation" –Ferris State University
"DisArt Festival to be Held in April 2015 in Grand Rapids" –Ferris State University
"G-Sync: DisArming stereotypes with art" –Rapid Growth
"New festival to introduce area to disability art; works to build access, understanding" –The Rapidian