Feedback from MixAbilities Inaugural

Jun 30, 2021 | MixAbilities

Masked participant in THE BOX with a pen and paper looking at a screen with a PowerPoint presentation

It is always a pleasure to hear feedback from participants. Sarah Howard is a community artist, musician, and songwriter who participated in a full-day MixAbilities Inclusive Arts Training inaugural event in June. It inspired her to post her feedback on Instagram. When she accepted our request to share her post with our readers, we were thrilled. Learn about how the training and modules impacted her perspective, appreciation to the artists who take on the labour of sharing their stories, and her hopes for the creative sector in the future. Feel free to let community artists know that H’art offers MixAbilities Inclusive Arts Training regularly throughout the year.

What is one thing we can do to promote access to the arts?

Feeling so lucky to have had the chance to participate in MixAbilities training at the H’art Centre his past weekend. So much inspiring food for thought around access to the arts for those with disabilities, but also so many different communities. 🎭 #weareallartists

As painful as they are, I am always so deeply moved by people’s stories about the barriers they faced to the arts, usually deeply personal accounts, about how they were underestimated, unseen, didn’t have the money, the role models, or sadly blatantly experienced sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism…or a combination of these and more, that prevented them from accessing the arts. A Grade 3 teacher telling you to mouth the words at choir. A parent or caregiver telling you to stop wasting your time. Not even receiving the chance to explore art, sacrificed for learning deemed more “essential” for you, as someone who has been stereotyped in a specific way. The less visible, systemic, everyday things…a teacher only encouraging certain types of students to take their artistic work further, only certain types of art (usually Eurocentric) being valued.

I just want to say thank you, I see you. Thanks to your labour, to you telling the painful stories of the barriers you’ve faced, regardless of the type of barrier, you’re making it possible for us to move forward, to create the ultimate work of art – a more inclusive and beautiful world.

Thanks to the H’art Centre for all the amazing work you are doing with artists of all abilities, and providing artists opportunities like this.

Everyone, please keep telling your stories, when you feel safe and ready to do so.

Background

On June 6 and June 13, 2021, MixAbilities Facilitator Karen Dolan guided community artists through MixAbilities modules 1-5. Using the H’art Studio program as an example to explore the importance of inclusive arts training, the group completed modules on communication techniques, lesson planning, creative space considerations, and arts-based instructional strategies. Towards the end of the day, Karen introduced the group to artists David Archibald, Amy Booth, Elizabeth Morris, and Theresa Upton who shared their experience within the inclusive arts field. The day concluded with a wrap-up and reflection Q&A. Some of these community artists may opt to take part in module 6, a two-part practicum scheduled for the summer.

This inaugural session was made possible through the generosity of the Edward and Anna C. Churchill Foundation.

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H’art Centre is located below Good Life Fitness. The building’s main entrance is off of Barrack Street. Wheelchair access and audience access to THE BOX inclusive performing arts space is available through the entrance on Wellington Street.

237 Wellington St., Kingston, Ontario, K7K 0B5

T: 613.545.1392

E: hartinfo@hartschool.ca