Delaware Public Media

Artfest allows people with disabilities to channel creativity together

Nov 9, 2016

Eager to capitalize on the idea that art expression is attainable for everyone, the 10th annual Artfest will once again bring together people with and without disabilities this Saturday.

Artfest director Lisa Bartoli said Artfest is a time where people can come together to create and express themselves through art.

“Everyone can succeed in art expression,” Bartoli said. “Even people with no verbal abilities - they may be non-verbal but they can express themselves through the arts.”

In particular, success in arts stems from the fact that art is considered more than just paintings on the walls of a museum, UD Center for Disabilities Studies director Beth Mineo said.

“Art is putting color together in interesting ways and…for people with disabilities who may not be able to do art in the traditional way we have lots of different tools and accommodations that they can use to help them hold an art implement,” Mineo said.

During Artfest, people with physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities test some of these tools. They include including paintbrush holders, wheelchair rollers and more, Bartoli said.

“Our program is all about making sure that it’s something that they can succeed at and all about self-expression and I think we use it also to connect with one another,” Bartoli said.

Participants will team up with UD volunteers and professional artists to create art. They’ll work to produce pieces that will go into UD’s Center for Disabilities Studies 2017 calendar and around the Center for Disabilities Studies building.

But Bartoli said Saturday’s event is about more than just the calendar.

“You know I think it’s about friendships now and not just creativity but creating art together and it really has grown,” she said.

Artfest will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Absalom Jones Senior Center in Newport.

Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.