I was honored last week to speak at the opening reception for the 2014 Unique Art Exhibit. Unique is an annual magazine of visual and literary pieces by artists with disabilities. Unique is the creation of Arise, Inc, the independent living center in Syracuse, NY.
I have admired Unique since its inception in 2000 for the venue it creates for people with disabilities to bring forth their talents and gifts to the our community.
I was honored to be one of this year’s judges. What I was not prepared for, though, was being overwhelmed by the depth and range of the work.
I will never forget walking in the room where all the pieces are collected and stepping into a state of amazement by the breadth of the work.
The volume of moving visuals, along with the touching literary works, tells me we have a goldmine of artistic abilities in Central New York. Abilities that need to be given more opportunities to shine.
As a professional in the disability service field and as someone who has lived all my life with a disability, I see such a need to change our thinking from serving people with disabilities to helping them live fully by encouraging people to radiate their abilities.
Unique does this year after year.
Unique is so much more than art and fine prose. It’s about individuals reaching within and bringing forth strengths and abilities.
The very nature of doing so lends itself living life more deeply and with more meaning.
Some of these artists have produced their work from the painful process of living with a disability. This kind of alchemy is a reflection of living fully with a disability because the artists transform their struggles into gifts that are shared with the community.
When we do this, we tap into our abilities. Take a peek into Unique exhibit and for you locals, check out the exhibit in person at the Everson Museum through September 21.