- Exhibit 9/14/18 - 1/6/19
- Fashion Show 9/22/18 @ 7PM
- Lecture & Fundraiser 10/26/18 4-5:30PM
DisArt is committed to increasing the participation of Disabled people in our communities through curated art exhibitions, cutting-edge public events, and organizational coaching. We believe that Disabled people deserve to do more than merely get inside spaces and events—they deserve to fully participate in our culture.
DisArt is quickly becoming one of the world’s most recognized producers of innovative, contemporary, Disability Art programs that amplify the voice, visibility, and value of all Disabled people.
The organization began as a collaboration with Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) and Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) in the spring of 2014. Working with key KCAD and UICA administration and local community partners, co-directors Chris Smit and Jill Vyn developed an initiative to bring a two-week-long Disability Arts Festival to Grand Rapids, Michigan in the spring of 2015.
In partnership with DisArt, the city of Grand Rapids’ Former Mayor George Heartwell declared 2015 the year of Arts + Access in Grand Rapids. DisArt Festival—which included the exhibition, Art of the Lived Experiment, three pop-up galleries, a film festival, artist talks, comedy, a fashion show, and programming by local disability service organizations—served as milestone events to highlight this city-wide initiative.
The primary funding support for this initiative was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Kendall College of Art and Design, Ferris State University, The Wege Foundation, Frey Foundation, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and Kate and Richard Wolters Foundation.
The goal of KCAD’s Arts + Access initiative was to produce an international Disability Arts Festival with DisArt that would engage faculty, staff, students, and the community at-large in a conversation about the definitions of disability through the power of contemporary art.
Following a very successful exhibition and festival, DisArt was strategically positioned to receive its 501(c)(3) status.
DIStopia looks at disability culture from the inside out. If you’re sick of seeing Disabled people being represented in popular culture as villains, psychos, misfits, or unreachable, if you live a life that’s different from everybody else around you and just can’t make a connection, if you need a place to rant and rave about living with a disability, if you need a place to learn about the history of disability, if you need to be inspired not by someone simply buying a cup of coffee or being able to tie their shoelaces, but by somebody who has actually changed the world that we live in through their Disability activism or art, then this is your place. This is your podcast. This is it. A podcast for us, by us.