Louder Than A Bomb poetry festival and competition in 2001 to change the way that poetry was taught and pursued in schools. Here is a great person in our industry that is raising kids up and giving them a voice. He's expanding this new way of learning by talking about expanding to the state level and beyond.
Dr. Carrie Sandahl, a professor on disabilities and the arts at University of Illinois in Chicago, reflects on the "unreasonable" expectations that are necessary for inclusion for those of us with disabilities. She speaks of the fable of the abled, a homogenized view that marginalizes the disabled, subjecting them to the stereotypes and metaphors that Hollywood perpetuates where at the end of the movie, the disabled person goes back to the institution or gets euthanized. She points out, much like James Goggin of the last session, how barriers should be embraced and create an innovative structure for new art that may not be convenient for the able-bodied but is brilliant and beautiful in its own right. She extols us to go beyond the ADA and use the arts as a laboratory for being together in better ways.
Lt. Governor Sheila Simon is taking a break from the Arts Council right now because of that fancy title before her name, but she considers herself a full-time arts advocate nonetheless. Through her music (she played her banjo for us), she has made a bigger impact on people in discussing domestic violence than as a law professor/prosecutor/speaker.
I really enjoyed all three speakers, and they're doing some incredible work. I was reminded that in my own push for diversity and diversification within the industry, that I don't always remember to include disabilities in my thoughts on the issue. I love the spirit, again, of getting full community participation as Louder Than A Bomb is doing and thinking how to make it bigger, connecting communities across city, state, and perhaps even national lines. I have always believed in the power of art in making a political message accessible, and I hope more and more politicians and advocates find inspiration in a top state official like Lt. Governor Simon.
It all goes to show that where the arts bring people together and engages them, it gives us all, every individual in the creative sector and every single person we touch, the power to change the world.