Setting the Foundation for a Thriving Artistic Practice
As Canada’s only multidisciplinary disability arts organization, the National accessArts Centre (NaAC) is committed to helping artists living with disabilities to take their creation efforts to the next level. For some, that means showcasing their work in spaces and on stages around the world. But, like any journey worth taking, the road to becoming an exhibiting artist is long.
Designed to help artists achieve their professional goals with guidance every step of the way, the NaAC’s Art Share program gives participants an opportunity to talk about their artwork and share their ideas with their peers. It also gives them the chance to create an artist statement, bio, and CV with support from NaAC staff and volunteers. The inaugural program ran from June to August, with participants coming together each week to set the foundations for their artistic practice in a fun and supportive environment.
Stepping it Up
“I like to express myself and I think art is the best way to show it,” says Laura LaPeare, who has exhibited in shows at the Calgary Stampede, Fish Creek Environmental Learning Centre, Contemporary Calgary, and the National accessArts Centre.
Laura began drawing as a child, but says it wasn’t until she started attending the NaAC that she realized her potential as a professional artist. “I discovered, with the help of the National accessArts Centre teachers, that art is more than a subject in school. It is an inspirational gift that I have to show the world.”
Laura hopes her art “can be a joy for others, [and something for] people to purchase or to give as a gift, as a source of income.”
Marching in Step
Eve Johnson is a recent addition to the NaAC artist roster. She joined in May and has already found her place among participants, thanks in part to the Art Share program.
During the program, Eve says the facilitators took the time to learn each individual artist’s strengths and weaknesses. As a strong writer, she was able to work at her own pace and support her peers.
“Everybody, no matter what their ability is, got what they needed,” she says.
Now that she’s taken the program, Eve is happy to have a professional artist bio and CV she can hand to people in the art industry. “I have more skills to start approaching galleries, both with the NaAC and on my own, to be able to actually get this art career off the ground.”
Stepping into the Spotlight
Brittany (Britt) Hertz is no stranger to showcasing her work. She’s participated in exhibitions at the Leighton Art Centre, Calgary Stampede, and National accessArts Centre, as well as a collaboration with Studio Bell. But now, she wants more.
“[Taking the Art Share program] ended up changing my practice slightly,” says Britt. “Before, I used to look at my art as just something to fill free time. Now, I’m starting to shift toward partly trying to make some money [from] it as well.”
To learn more about upcoming programs at the National accessArts Centre, visit accessarts.ca