Introduction

Artists First Conversations

Artists First Conversations

Artists First Conversations:
Inclusivity for Artists with Disabilities

Artists First Conversations: Inclusivity for Artists with Disabilities is a three-part symposium series held in tandem with the Chicago Cultural Center exhibition Artists First: Twenty-five Years of Studio Art at Thresholds. The primary goals of the symposium series are to increase scholarship in the field of self-taught art made by artists with neurodevelopmental and mental health disabilities, with a focus on community receptivity historically and currently, and to strengthen partnerships nationally and internationally in continuing the exchange of art and ideas.

The symposium’s panels will delve into 1) the relationship between art making and mental health, 2) the ethics of exhibiting artists with neurodevelopmental and mental health disabilities, and 3) how artists with disabilities fit into the greater art world.

The symposium will be hybrid with in-person panel discussions at the Claudia Cassidy Theater at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington Street, Chicago, IL 60602); panels will conclude with a Q&A with the panelists. Light refreshments will be available before (10–10:30 a.m.) and after (12–12:30 p.m.) the panels. Attendees from afar can tune into the livestreamed 90-minute discussions from 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m. (noon) central on Zoom.

The Chicago Cultural Center is wheelchair accessible and offers accommodations for attendees who are D/deaf or hard-of-hearing and or are blind or low-vision. Please contact Eva Baldinger at eva@art.org with questions related to accessibility accommodations at the symposium series.

The Artists First Conversations symposium series is free! Reserve tickets to the panels on Eventbrite.

Register on Eventbrite

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Symposium 1

The Relationship Between Art Making and Mental Health
Saturday, October 15, 2022
10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. central, Claudia Cassidy Theater
10:30 a.m.–12 p.m. central, Zoom

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Symposium 2

The Ethics of Exhibiting Artists with Neurodevelopmental and Mental Health Disabilities
Saturday, November 19, 2022
10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. central, Claudia Cassidy Theater
10:30 a.m.–12 p.m. central, Zoom

Learn more

Symposium 3

How Artists with Disabilities Fit into the Greater Art World
Saturday, December 10, 2022
10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. central, Claudia Cassidy Theater
10:30 a.m.–12 p.m. central, Zoom

Learn more


COVID-19 information

Attendees are encouraged to wear face coverings if they feel comfortable, but they are not required to do so. Before attending the symposium, attendees are encouraged to self-identify whether they exhibit symptoms and stay home if they feel tired, ill or symptomatic.


Supporters

Artists First Conversations is supported in part by Kiyoko Lerner and the Nathan and Kiyoko Lerner Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Thresholds, and Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art.


Symposium series co-chairs

  • Leslie Baum, Director of the Open Art Studio at Thresholds Bridge South
  • Michael Bonesteel, Contributing Editor at Raw Vision and independent writer, scholar and curator
  • Dr. Scott J. Hunter, developmental neuropsychologist and curator of Artists First: Twenty-five Years of Studio Art at Thresholds
  • Debra Kerr, President and CEO at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art