I've been supporting artists through the Living from Art network for 6 years now, and helping everyone to take part in making art through Art Playground before that. I believe that access to art of all kinds, as well as opportunity to create for ourselves are important to anyone who believes that we must find our way to a kinder, greener, more authentic life. I also have a great deal of 'second hand' experience of living with disabilities of all kinds, personally and professionally. So I'm delighted to be sharing this guest blog from Living from Art member, Sarah Goddard who lives with a sight impairment as well as the effects of Long Covid.
I'm very excited about her new exhibition at the Gardens Gallery from 2 - 8 February which includes the opportunity for 100 people to contribute to a new piece of work. And I'm very grateful to Sarah for letting me share this blog.
Opening the door
I prefer to call myself a disabled person rather than a person with a disability. I don’t carry my disability around like a handbag. If I did I might have been lucky enough to leave it on a bus years ago, along with my favourite hat and multiple umbrellas.
I have a collection of mental, physical and sensory conditions and impairments. They bring with them difficulties and pain: both mental and physical. But what disables me is the way in which I interact with the world around me. This world has been largely designed, built and run by non-disabled people, so the varied needs of people with health conditions and impairments are not always taken into account. Enablers and Disablers
This is why I have felt more disabled at some times in my life than others. Not just because of a change in impairments, but rather it has been down to a difference in the public spaces and services around me, and the attitudes of the people around me. people around me.
This is why I want to make my first solo exhibition as accessible as possible. I want to try to remove barriers to anyone being able to enjoy art. I have made sure that I will hold my exhibition in a gallery with level access. I will create audio descriptions for all of the artworks. And I will also create an online version of the exhibition so that people who are not able to visit the gallery will still be able to access the exhibition.
It isn’t just disabilities that can create barriers to accessing spaces. I know that there are many reasons why people may feel unsafe, uncomfortable or unwelcome in some spaces. This is why I will also be hosting a collaborative community art project during my art exhibition. I want to do what I can to invite people into this space, and to take some time for themselves to indulge in creativity in a welcoming space
For more information and to register to take part go to https://www.sarahgoddardartist.co.uk/makeroomforart