aanm.ca/Disabled artists put a unique spin on creativity causing us to go even further past our known and comfortable realities. Setting new heights in what the imagination can achieve.
I have been teaching Artists with intellectual disabilities for years, and I have found them to be some of the most creative people I know. The fact is, that Artists with intellectual and/ or physical disabilities do not have the same exhibiting and training opportunities as Artists without.
So WHY do we as an Arts Community need to make this a priority in our grant funding, training programs for artists, and add this to our exhibition categories?
It is quite simple really. Without providing an inclusive and accessible arts community for disabled artists you may be preventing the world from experiencing some of the greatest works of modern society. Exhibiting disabled artists should never be considered "taboo" or "difficult", but for some organisations it is.
So WHAT can we do as an Arts Community do to make exhibiting disabled Artists a much easier task?
Whether you are hosting an Arts Festival or Arts Exhibit for disabled artists, you are running a project and managing an income for an Artist. Artists with disabilities will need help curating, pricing, framing, and advertising their work. That is where you come in.
Currently there are no business, or cultural management training programs available to artists with disabilities relevant to Fine Artists and Artisans. If it wasen't for my career and education in management, sales and customer service, small business and project management, I wouldn't be the successful Artist you see today. There are business programs, grant funding, and small business loans available in Canada to Entrepreneurs, but not necessarily for Artists in general, never mind Artists with disabilities.
WE can change that! Here are some ways YOU as a cultural organization can contribute to moving disabled arts forward:
*Most importantly make your training available through webinars, so Artists do not need to travel, or can take the workshops or training program from home with a care provider.*
If you would like any help with any of the above suggestions, and need help making connections. Here is a list of great organisations located in Manitoba who are currently working towards helping disabled artists:
Have you ever wondered why you don't see many disabled artists exhibiting their work publicly, and teaching art classes?
As an Artist with a disability I can say from personal and professional experience that art needs to become more accessible. Although there are several people and organizations who are hosting exhibits for those with disabilities, and providing some training programs for artists, they do not cover all artistic disciplines.
First we must ask ourselves the following two questions:
1. WHAT qualifies as a disability?
2. WHY does what type of disability matter?
3. WHO is affected by accessibility issues for disabled artists?
To answer the first question I will simply provide the dictionary definition of WHAT a disability is:
condition, disorder, affliction
"my disability makes getting into bed a slow process"
When people think of disability the first thoughts that often come to mind are:
A person who is either blind, deaf, in a wheelchair, or missing limbs, not necessarily other health conditions or invisible disabilities. Another spectrum of disabilities are intellectual ones, which may or may not be visible at all.
Why does what type of disability you have matter?
How it matters to the person with it differs, but it SHOULDN'T matter to exhibitions which one you have. Most exhibitions for artists with disabilities have very specific criteria of what type of disability you must have in order to participate, unintentionally creating a 'non-inclusive' environment.
It may not be appropriate to have all disabilities at EVERY exhibition, but I have found that most are targeted towards blind, deaf, and those with visible physical handicaps. All Artists should have EQUAL opportunities to showcase their work, and receive artistic training throughout the year.The Artist thinks to themselves "Well perhaps if I had that disability my artwork would count." The truth is all art in all forms counts, and should be seen and experienced by exhibitors, and judged the same way art produced by an artists without a disability is.
Exhibiting your art as an artist with a disability has several unseen barriers that may affect non-disabled artists as well, but are particular more challenging if your disability is physical and/ or intellectual.
For an Artist or Entrepreneur with a disability these barriers although only exist on paper, can be a significant setback.
WHY it exhibitions are still non-inclusive:
1. The exhibitions only allow submissions from artists with specific disabilities, leaving several artists out of the picture.
2. The exhibits do not provide transportation or shipping of the artworks to and from the exhibiting location.
3. The exhibits if held at all are only once a year or more in a specific city/ province that may be to costly to travel to for n emerging artist with a disability.
4. There are only a couple online art contests created for artists with disabilities every year across canada.
5. Art stores do not all sell online, and may not have the products an Artist may need so he/ or she will have to travel to a store that may not be wheelchair accessible
6. Disabled Artists are more likely to live in poverty, so taking a high commission off of their paintings, and requiring them to frame it in order to apply to an exhibit may automatically disclude their practice no matter how talented they are.
7. There are not many exhibiting travel grants for artists with disabilities who would like to expand their practice nationally or internationally.
8. Art gallery/ studio may or may not be wheelchair accessible, and may not have an accessible washroom. If the studio is smaller in size it may not be wheelchair friendly at all. This is especially true for art galleries located in older buildings.
9. There are not many mentor ship training programs for artists with disabilities that cover all artistic disciplines.
This is why I always encourage Artists to build their brand online as much as possible, and to be very strategic about where they exhibit their work. Most importantly to showcase their work in an art studio or gallery that is wheelchair accessible. The more barriers you place in front of an already 'starving artist' with a disability, the less motivated they will be to pursue their artistic practice
Tips To Help Artists Showcase Their Work And Make Money
1. Don't always be so specific about the type of disability. Make your exhibit(s) open to all physical disabilities, or all intellectual disabilities and cover multiple artistic disciplines.
2. Teach disabled Artists entrepreneurial skills such as online marketing, sales, customer service, and administration skills
3. Provide transportation or transportation grants and/ or funding to Artists who need assistance when exhibiting or training
4. Make your building more accessible by purchasing ramps/ and keeping studio furniture to a minimum to allow for wheelchairs to move throughout the building without needing staff assistance. Small things like the weight of a door, and how difficult it is to open can be the one thing that keeps people with disabilities out of your building.
5. Have your gallery staff trained to assist those with intellectual or physical disabilities to make the exhibit more welcoming and interactive.
6. For individuals with sensory challenges who are either the artists exhibiting or a guest at an exhibit, try to learn how to incorporate sensory objects, lighting, and sound into production elements of the show. For exhibits that are simply a walk by and take a look feel, that may or may not be an environment that a person with an intellectual disability could enjoy.
I want my art to be as inclusive as possible to guests, including those with an intellectual or physical disability. I have found it challenging to find traditional galleries accommodating, so most of the time I rent a theatre or an empty room that I can adapt to make more accessible for my audience. Typically when I call to book a venue I have found alot of galleries have not put much thought into the above, so I am not always able to hold my own exhibits as much as I would like too.
I purposefully make my paintings with gel mediums, and elements of scuplture in acrylic so that guests who are blind or who learn from touch can touch my art. I KNOW! OH MY GOSH! THATS THE ULTIMATE NO, NO!!!! If you think about it......how else would they get to experience my work? I have several layers of varnish on my pieces, and they do not get touched every day so to me, it is worth it.
I am not asking you to let anyone touch any artists work. All I am saying is that it is not just disabled artists that we need to accommodate, but disabled guests. Lets work together to make this happen shall we?
Here are some awesome links and resources to help you make art more accessible:
If you are looking for a paint night, workshop or art class to be instructed to artists with disabilities, and/ or art mentors contact ArtWithSas directly: 204.894.1075
The hardest obstacle for any new adult artist is to learn to love the experimentation process.
Yes you can learn from reading art books, taking art classes, and watching Bob Ross on YouTube and with a little practice you shall succeed.
Years ago famous artists didn't rush themselves when they painted. They took their time to create a masterpiece.
Art was was purposeful, and a historic archive. It was an active log of the cultures religious, political, and economical climate. It was also a way for Artist's to express their passion for the things they loved around them (landscapes/ seascapes/still life/ floral and people). Artists had deadlines when they were commissioned, but other than that they painted at THEIR OWN pace and leisure. I believe that is what makes them works of art. They did it to create something THEY believed was amazing, it did not matter what others thought, or how long it took.
Our world moves at a very fast pace, and any form of art is learned over time. Even with things being sped up by technology.When you are taking an art class give yourself the freedom to learn at your own pace. Don't put conditions, restrictions, and time limitations upon yourself. Let thoughts of painting speed and brush technique perfection go. One day you will render a painting exactly how you want it to as long as you trust yourself and the process.
Some of my greatest works came from mistakes I thought I had made in a particular painting. I have accidentally learned and created new techniques by allowing myself to PLAY.Take a break, and a sigh. Come back to the painting in a few minutes, or however long it takes you to chill. Fresh perspective can go a long way. :)
Here are some tips to help you CHILL and CREATE :)
1. Organize your painting work space before you begin.
- Lay out the colors and brushes you want to use.
- Clean your brushes & apply brush shaper soap to get them ready. Discard any crusted or ruined brushes/
- Have a completely clean palette available to use right away if you are working on a new piece.
- Get your music/ movie/ or TV show on and your favorite yummy beverage to get those juices flowing. ;)
- Lay out a tarp if you will be painting from a distance with a larger canvass and brushes, and an apron and/ or paint clothes so you don't have to stop in the middle of painting to clean yourself up.
2. Have an idea of the image(s) you would like to create
- Inspire yourself! google search random words that come to mind, and check out different images. If some inspire you download them (but do not infringe on copyrights by copying it). You can also use your favorite photography of things or people you are interested in, and paint a version of the image or just use it to get some excitement flowing.
- Some people like to read books, magazines, or newspapers to create a collage of images they can paint from. If you are still learning to paint a new subject, this is a great way to put a painting together if you have "painters block".
- Visit your local galleries and exhibits of Artists at various skill levels. Artist talks are a great way to learn what inspired the Artist to create their series of work(s) and what products and supplies they used to create it. If you really like something they do you can add it into your style, or save years trying to "guess" how the greats did it.
- Follow Artists at various skill levels in multiple painting or drawing genres and disciplines. A few minutes on Pinterest or Instagram can really get the juices flowing!
3. Buy and use a painting sketchbook to practice brushstroke and drawing techniques.
- If you are painting something for the first time it is recommended that you practice your brush strokes repeatedly until you feel you have mastered them on a separate piece of paper. You can do this by practicing from YouTube tutorials, painting and drawing books or from google images (as mentioned in .2)
4. Clear your artspace from distracting, uninspiring clutter or anything that takes away from your positive painting vibe.
- Maybe it is a stack of homework or other works in progress. Either way a fresh, clean space can clear your mind giving your imagination room to spread it's colorful wings. ;)
- If you don't have your own studio or artspace give yourself one. Even if it is one side or corner of a table or a room. Every hobby deserves a designated space to create and learn in. I.E "A hobby sanctuary." It does not have to be fancy, just a space where you can make a mess without feeling like it needs to be cleaned after every visit from you.
5. Invest in good quality student supplies
- I understand we all want to save money, but using cheap paints and brushes in the beginning are actually more expensive in the long run as they do not last long. They also do not mix or blend well, and brush strokes will not be as good. Of course you shouldn't go buy high end supplies when you first start painting because it takes discipline to control your brush strokes and amount of paint usage to hone in on your skills. . Remember your first pieces of works you are not trying to sell,and may or may not gift to someone.They are intended for you to learn, but don't give yourself a pair of shoes without shoelaces and be surprised when you trip. (Cheesy metaphor...I know. :)
6. Paint a small painting for loved ones for their birthday and/ or holiday as keepsakes
- Nothing challenges and improves your artistic ability like painting something for a loved one as there is motivation to do well. You will end up painting something awesome and interesting you may not have otherwise, and it shows them you truly care.
Conclusion: Set yourself up for success before you put a single brush stroke to the canvass.
I have been teaching kids music, dance, and fitness for several years in daycare's and schools across MB. It wasen;'t until I gave birth to my own child that I discovered the challenges of post par-tum recovery. Like many moms, I felt the birthing experience was very traumatic, and I wasent sure how to deal with my emotions with so many changes happening all at once. Most of the time you are so sleep deprived, it is hard to have much energy to do anything else other than to care for your baby.
I was staring at the flowers my mom had bought me for the hospital which were starting to fade, and I thought to myself..."If I glue these petals to a painting they will last forever." So I did just that. This time what I was painting was not about creating a masterpiece for myself, or a piece to sell, but just to let out the emotions that were boiling over. I worked on it 10 mins here and there over a week or so, and at the end I looked at it and cried. It was a good cry though. I knew that every brush stroke was a release, and a step in the healing direction.
Now, just like the belly cast I created for my son, I keep these paintings as a reminder of where I came from, where I am, and where I am going with my new family. I hang them on the wall with honor, like a warrior woman who has won the first part of the battle, birthing a healthy child.
I am so glad I decided to paint during my pregnancy. In the 6 months I was home on maternity leave I painted over 15 paintings, and completed so many other small works of arts as gifts to friends. My child inspired me so much. He brought so much life, and beauty to my brush that I couldn't have painted otherwise if he had not been growing inside my womb.
I do believe that a healthy mom, raises healthy children. I also believe that in order for a recovering mom to feel good about herself, her new body, and new life, it starts with harnessing the beauty she has inside of her. One of the best ways to bring it out is through creativity. Mom's in our pursuit of perfection at home, can loose sight of what makes us special and happy too. Yes! your kids come first, but leaving yourself behind is not the answer.
You make sure your kids have adequate arts education at school and at home, give yourself that gift too.
I encourage you to invest in yourself a couple of hours once a week or a few times a month by taking an art class.
Classes offered: Monday afternoons 1pm,-3pm and Wednesday evenings from 6:30pm-8:30pm (Beginner-Adults) at Michaels (Polo Park) - 840 St. James Street. Wpg. MB. **Register in person to learn more.***
Now you and your children can have access to quality arts instruction regardless of where you live. From Virden to Steinbach and Killarney to Russell MB, ArtWithSas is partnering with various community arts organizations starting summer 2017!
This means that workshops in acrylic and water color painting and drawing by Grumbacher will be accessible to you once a month for the 2017-2018 season. Simply register for the workshop online through my website once the times and dates have been announced and we will bring all the supplies and fun to you.
I will teach you how to build on your novice to intermediate painting skills using 3-5 brushes to create the most innovative techniques trending in the painting community. Novice students will have the opportunity to dabble in neon and metallic paints, and intermediate students will master them.
Affordable rates and exciting lesson plans will keep you engaged in a small class, laid back setting in a 2 hour class. For parents, this means that you can drop off your kids at "SasArtCamp" for the class, and get some much needed summer relaxation time. For adult students, you will be able to take your new found skills home to create beautiful new works during the winter.
Class size is limited! so subscribe to our monthly newsletter today to find out when "SasArtCamp" is hitting your town.
Interesting in hosting a "SasArtCamp" workshop series in your area? Contact me today!
Art. The cheapest, and most effective therapy. Forget the pain, soak in some artistic gain.
For those who struggle with chronic pain,a break from it can do wonders for the mind, heart, and body. When you are a chronic pain sufferer your body can feel tired, with little energy. The great thing about art is that it can be done on an app, your tablet, a sketchbook on your lap, or at a table with an easel. From drawing to painting, and arts and crafts, there is something for everyone, at every level.
I was born with patella syndrome which caused severe arthritic pain from the time I was 7 years old. Many times I was unable to participate in sports and extra curricular activities at school because I was very tired, and did not have emotional energy to socialize. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I spent a large amount of time being creative on my own, creating my own awesome world on paper. As a teen I took art classes, and this gave me the ability to get lost in my artwork, but also socialize without the pressure of expelling energy to keep up with everyone in the room.
Time flew bye when I painted, and the pain I had would disappear for a while. After working with at-risk youth and disabled children for several years, who were unable to verbally express themselves, art became a solice where they could clearly demonstrate their memories, dreams, and passions.
Whether you are a chronic pain sufferer, or a person with a disability, arts and crafts activities can offer you a whole new world to discover at your own pace within your budget. I encourage you to sign up for a class, and see where it leads you, and make some new friend along the way.
For class schedules visit:
For events and offers visit:
A healthy mom equals a healthy baby. Discover how art can help achieve this goal.
Post-Partum depression is a very REAL and SCARY experience for mothers, but there is a way to make it better.The gift of an art class or paint night as form of therapy and relaxation is a great way to help a mom get back on track, and out of the house for some much needed socialization. Art provides a calm, safe, quiet, neutral environment for moms to sort out their emotions.
After my first I had post-par tum depression. Thankfully, I am an Artist, and immersing myself in my art was a great way for me to relax during baby's nap time. Although parenting can be crazy and unpredictable, it can also be routine. Studies have shown that a child's mental health can be affected by a mom's health during the pre-natal, and post-partum period. That is why mom's and dad's need to have their own time away from the children, and even each other doing things they enjoy to be great moms and dads.
For many new moms who are going through post-par tum depression they are adjusting to a completely different community of people, and lifestyle choices. They may not be ready to engage in highly social activities because they are tired, stressed, and may still be recovering physically. That is why sending them to a paint night or art class is so beneficial for them. Art classes, are low key, and they have the opportunity to learn techniques so when the kids get older they can start doing art at home in their downtime. Paint nights are a great alternative to a bar if a mom wants to get out and meet new people on "her time", that is not to late at night. After having my first, I realized the majority of the things I liked to do for fun started at 9pm or 10pm at night, which was too late for a new tired mom.
Although the needs of each parent is different, one principal remains the same. Parents are still humans, who need community, their own identity outside of parenthood, and intellectual/ physical stimulation. When you recognize who you are, and what you stand for, and where you want your life to go as a parent, you will be more mentally clear to raise emotionally strong children. By taking care of yourself, you are taking care of your child too.
Now that I am a mom, I understand the challenges parent face even more then when I was just teaching children. I want you to discover the joy of parenting without feeling caged by post-partum depression. There is nothing wrong with you, give yourself a chance to fly. Get out and try new things. Give up perfection, and comparing yourself to others.
I know what Art did for me, and I would like to share that gift with you. I would love to meet you in one of my public art classes. Stay in touch.
Due to popular demand, I will be offering Intermediate acrylic painting and drawing classes for adults starting April.2017 at Michaels every Wednesday from 3PM to 5PM at the Polo Park location.
This class is ideal for Artists with some painting and drawing experience who would like to learn how to work with specialty brushes, neon and metallic paints, sponges and painting knives tricks and techniques.
From taking these classes you will learn how to:
1. Reduce paint waste
2. Save time by mastering specialty brush stroke techniques
3. Learn how to create a hyper realistic piece with only two to three brushes
4. Learn how to create texture with finger and sponge painting techniques
5. How to take photography of your choice and render it into a gorgeous painting in class in under 2 hours. (Students must submit their images a week before hand.)
6. Receive one on one coaching in a small class room setting to work out you =r learning kinks in the classroom so you can focus your energy on creating beautiful artwork at home faster.
Students are recommended to sign up for a one month series of 1 class per week to learn intermediate foundation skills and receive adequate coaching.
Each week we will cover the following categories with students having the ability to select the subject area they would like to focus on based on their interests:
Register in person @ Michaels Polo Park and automatically get 40% off of your Grumbacher student supplies and in-store savings!
Art, a safe, fun, relaxing activity after divorce.
Art is a meditative, conscious, healing experience where an artists at any level can create a beautiful scrapbook of their memories.
Creating art is truly an adventure because it causes you to search out new places, ideas, and people, which is exactly what new Divorcee's want. This process of "re-discovering yourself" and creating a new identity outside of your spouse is important. It can be a very powerful, and uplifting experience that can take you to new heights. The process of divorce can be very hard when juggling mixed emotions, and sometimes you feel like you just want to be by yourself or an unfamiliar place where there is no reminders.
This is what is so great about art, is it is a very introspective activity that can be done alone in the privacy of you own home or with a small group of people. As art classes attracts people who are looking to learn new things and make new friends, it can be a very positive environment for a new divorcee. Taking an art class or to is a great start as it helps to have a mentor/ coach/ teacher to help you set a new foundation to grow your hobby into whatever you want it to be.
Whether you are just wanting to try a class or two to see if art is for you, or make it a permanent activity you do once or twice a week, art has the potential to be a positive outlet that can provide relaxation and peace to your new life. Art is an exciting adventure. Every time you learn a new technique, or master an old one it builds your confidence. Creating art is not about making something "perfect" for anyone else,It is about making something that makes YOU feel good. Having an outlet to express yourself safely on a down day can be very uplifting.
Kids struggle with divorce just as much as adults do at any age. Kids who do not have a safe place to express their emotions constructively often have difficulties in their relationships as an adult. Counselling is always helpful, but not for everyone. Kids who may have excelled in other extra curricular activities before the divorce may find they need some alone time away from the familiar to gather themselves.
I encourage you to try an artistic activity if you or someone you know is going through a divorce (either adult or child). If you are interested in taking art classes I would love to have you. To learn more visit:
Art is an automatic cultural education tool that brings people from different cultures together.
Just like music art speaks to everyone in a unique language that is received by each individual differently. As ancient and classic oil and acrylic paintings are a historical cultural archive, by studying art one can learn about various cultures without traveling in a non-intimidating fashion.Art has the power of decreasing in differences in two separate individuals through the process of art education.
People from two completely different walks of life can connect over the same piece art. Just like music and dance, visual arts is a communication of the deepest thought and feelings of the mind and soul. Feelings that even the Artist who created the piece does not always understand to explain.
Art has a way of showing how incredibly similar we are to each other. Kids who may have conflict with each other are suddenly calm and congenial with each other after participating in an art class together. When I was beginning my awkward pre-teen years I met my best friend of my childhood through participating in an art class. He was quiet, shy, and kind of anti-social, but we connected over the same drawing interests while sitting beside each other in detention (lol).I talked to him for months before he finally said a word to me. He showed up at my house one day after school, after I had totally forgotten about him and given up. It turns out that although we were from two completely different cultures we had a lot in common, and so it goes. This same friend was for many years, the only one encouraging me to pursue my artistic interests professionally.
If you are interested in having your child receive an arts education that teaches them about different cultures, sign them up for an art class that focuses on one or more cultures. The art class can be anything from how to make moccasins, to decorating Ukrainian eggs. As long as their is art history included in the class your child will easily learn about another culture, and will in turn gain more social skills, and cultural understanding.
A child with cultural understanding will transition better in school in their teen years, and will also be a better team player when they enter the workforce. For more information on my cultural enrichment art workshops for schools and daycare's please visit:
Stephanie A.E Strugar
Certified Grumbacher Painting & Drawing Instructor.
Certified Face/ Body & Temporary Tattoo Artist.
Public Speaker/Blogger/ Community Advocate