Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Artist Accessibility

Taking an ocean-side stroll.  Hiking through the woods along a rocky path.  Climbing a flight of stairs.  

Rolling out slabs of clay, sitting in my wheelchair
Do you ever stop to think about these actions...and be thankful these are activities you can perform with little to no thought?  I am envious at times of those who don't have to think a second thought about doing these actions.  There, I said it.  As much as I try to maintain a positive outlook on my situation, there are times when I just want to say, "This shit sucks". 

I have been looking at trying to attend one of two different pottery workshops this summer.  One at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and one at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts.  Both workshops are at respected fine arts facilities located in Maine, both well known for the quality of workshop and presenters they bring in.  Unfortunately...neither one are handicap accessible.  Long walks along uneven terrain to get from dorms to studio.  Stairs/multi-level outside areas.  Second floor art studios.  Most artisans don't have to think twice about applying for and attending either one of these wonderful places.  But I have ask the ADA question...can the facilities accommodate a wheelchair/mobility impaired person.  As of right now...the answer has been no.  I would be able to access most/some of the available activities/spaces...but not all.  Accommodations could be made to allow me to participate, however I would be set apart from my peers.  That's one of the great things about these workshops...is the camaraderie of fellow ceramic artisans, learning from one another.  I've been wanting to attend some kind of formal workshop for the last year.  However, due to the high caliber artists these facilities attract, the tuition & fees has been a little too steep for me to be able to afford out of pocket.  This year I decided to bite the bullet and apply for a work study scholarship...it will be trying for sure due to my limitations...but well worth it if I am accepted.  And IF I can get around the campus.  It's difficult to balance my excitement at potentially being able to participate in one of these world renowned workshops...and my hesitancy/disappointment at not being able to utilize all the facility has to offer.

Ah well...what's meant to be will be.

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