Thursday, March 13, 2008

Disability Arts and Culture Center makes Chicago TV news

In an excellent open-captioned report on March 10, ABC 7 news in Chicago did a report on the new arts and culture center, which is located at Access Living in Chicago.

The award-winning artist Riva Lehrer, who is involved with the disability arts movement, takes the reporter through the center. She explains: "Art about disability hasn't been taken seriously because the idea was that most of the art was being done in community settings and not as part of a professional art career. So what we've been looking for are professional artists with serious track records who are either disabled and are doing well-crafted, interesting, relevant work, in terms of contemporary art, or artists who are not disabled but who have done a lot of work about disability."

One of the co-creators of the center, David Mitchell, a highly regarded disability studies scholar, says: "We've rarely come to think of disabled people as a significant social minority, and it's really the creation of a history. That social minority that gives them status as kind of coherent collective group that can be followed from one part of history to another, so that act of making a history exhibit was fleshed out and given breath to the experience of disabled people as a collective group who shared experiences within the societies that they've been part of."

Karen Meyer of ABC 7 reports the story, and she specializes in reporting on disability issues for the station. Profoundly deaf, she has been a features reporter at ABC 7 since 1991. She also oversees DePaul University's Office of Students with Disabilities.

I see this as a great partnership that could work in many TV markets. Most TV stations are understaffed these days and reaching out to someone who can and wants to cover the disability community is an excellent idea.