Art is for everyone. It does not matter who you are, where you are from, or what you do; art is universal. No one specific person or group can claim it. Through art, individuals can express themselves, share their stories, and connect with others. It can be enjoyed and created by anyone, including individuals with disabilities.
Over 60 million adults in the United States live with a disability. That’s more than 25% of all adults in the country. Many of these individuals express themselves through art, with some choosing to make a career in the creative field. So how does a career in the arts benefit an individual with disabilities?
The Benefits of Art for Individuals With Disabilities
- Expression - There is a strong connection between art and disability, with many disabled individuals harnessing their creativity to convey how they feel. Many individuals have intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) that impact how they communicate and relate to others. This can make it difficult for them to express their feelings, and share their thoughts, opinions, and experiences. A career in the arts can provide an outlet for these individuals to express themselves through their work and convey their innermost thoughts.
- Agency - Some individuals with disabilities require assistance with activities of daily living (ADL) and other tasks, reducing self-perceived agency. However, a career in the arts gives people with disabilities—whether they require support or not—the ability to create their art on their own and even earn a living from it, making anyone feel more agential in their own life. Giving an individual control over what they do in their life, allows them to support themselves, create what they want, and experience a sense of accomplishment from creating something on their own.
- Socialization - A career in the arts also benefits individuals with disabilities by providing an increased opportunities to socialize with others. Art brings people together, whether it is at art galleries, workshops, or studios. Around 40% of individuals with disabilities or chronic illnesses experience feelings of loneliness and social isolation, so these opportunities to socialize with others can help them overcome isolation while also developing their social skills.
Art Enables is an art gallery and vocational arts program dedicated to creating opportunities for artists with disabilities to make, market, and earn income from their original and compelling artwork. In addition to earning income from art sales, artists build the skills, relationships, and experience necessary for a successful career in the arts. We offer our artists the creative space, materials, and marketing support they need to develop and succeed as professionals.
We also seek to promote understanding and celebrate the diverse and powerful ways individuals with disabilities can communicate through visual art and why their work is an invaluable part of the broader arts community. You can make a difference in the lives of these artists by making a donation to fund our work, signing up to volunteer, or even purchasing a piece of original work!