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EVERYONE IS AN ARTIST
Our condition does not disable us. Inaccessibility in the world does.
Artists with unique physical & mental conditions have long had their creative hands tied and their voices silenced.
Throughout history, these members of our community have come to be thought of as ‘disabled’.
Inadequate. Incapable. Incomplete.
Opus 1 Foundation challenges the image of who an artist is by creating a platform for all artists.
On a single platform. Together.
We believe the time has come for the world to change its view of all ‘disabled’ individuals.
Today, we find handicap only in the false narrative of the past and the walls we've built around it;
Not in the artists who enrich our experience of life with their extraordinary gifts — no matter their condition.
Today, everyone is an artist.
Media Feature: Claire Cunningham
A HISTORY OF BIAS & DISCRIMINATion
In 2023, the arts currently employ around 4.8 million people in the United States.
Disabled individuals represent approximately 39,070 of them -- less than 1% of the total workforce.
Despite opportunities for people with diverse abilities having been expanded since the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), these individuals struggle to access education and/or obtain careers in the arts. Over 80% of arts venues & festivals still exclude disabled artists from their programming and operations, minimizing the effects of the ADA and its impact in the field.
Furthermore, only 3 states in the union -- Alaska, New Hampshire and Maryland -- have repealed the Fair Labors Standard Act (FLSA), which allows employers to pay subminimum wage to those "... impaired by a physical or mental disability, including those related to age or injury, for the work to be performed." This act legalizes the unequal pay of disabled artists, who earn about 13% less on average than their non-disabled peers, and require 28% more income to attain equal living standards.
Media Feature: Candoco Dance
IT'S TIME TO TELL A NEW STORY.
Recognizing the inherent creative potential in every person, Everyone is an Artist creates space for individuals of all backgrounds and abilities to find their voice, share their story, and contribute their unique talents towards building a stronger arts & culture community.
To bridge the gap between disabled and non-disabled individuals, all program activities are designed to be 100% integrative and inclusive. While we recognize more action is needed to equalize socioeconomic standards for disabled individuals, we believe any program with uneven representation across the abilities spectrum furthers issues of separation and segregation. Everyone is an Artist showcases and celebrates all members of our community equally.
Media Feature: AXIS Dance
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Everyone is an Artist (EIAA) brings together artists, advocates, institutions, corporations and government agencies to expand employment and education opportunities for disabled individuals in the arts & culture economy.
THE EIAA VISION
We envision a world where human creativity encompasses the full range of our collective diversity.
Through its high caliber artistic collaborations and strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations, Everyone is an Artist is working towards:
1. Fair & Equal Employment for Diversely-Abled Individuals in the Arts.
2. Integrative Degree-Based Curricula for Diversely-Abled Students in the Arts.
3. Repealing Biased Legislation that Discriminates Against Diversely-Abled Individuals in the United States.
4. Advance Art Forms and Diversity in Human Creative Expression.
A FIVE-STEP STRATEGY
In Fall 2023, Everyone is an Artist will begin with an extensive research & development period to dissect challenges specific to diversely-abled individuals in the arts. This will include a comprehensive review of academic literature; surveys and interviews; data and comparative analyses; and direct consultation with industry leaders, artists and institutions. Data collected throughout this period will be open source and available to other organizations who are aligned with the ethos of the program.
Stakeholders in the program will review the data collected over the research & development period and come together to create equitable performance works, integrative education curricula, and inclusive community programs. This ensures that all engaged in the program share a common knowledge base, from which a series of successful six month, one year and multi-year collaborations are possible as a mixed abilities team.
Artists, advocates and partnering institutions bring the newly created programs & projects of Everyone is an Artist directly to members of the community, encouraging participation in its mission at all levels. Through degrees of engagement, whether as attendees to a performance or participant in an education workshop, Everyone is an Artist presentations aim to:
1. Dissolve false narratives around disability.
2. Increase the visibility of diversely-abled individuals in the arts.
3. Motivate members of the general public to become program ambassadors within their respective communities.
Opus 1 Foundation incorporates a short- and long-term sustainability plan to ensure Everyone is an Artist programs & projects continue to meet and outperform their goals. Licensing and royalty fees from the presentation of works created through the program will be used to establish the Everyone is an Artist Fund. The fund will serve three distinct purposes:
1. Support on-going operation of the Everyone is an Artist program.
2. Expand the reach of the program through strategic partnerships & collaborations.
3. Underwrite costs to lobby against legislation which directly or indirectly discriminates against disabled people.
At the core of Everyone is an Artist is the development of a true study-to-work pathway for diversely-abled students in the arts & culture economy. We believe equity in the field starts with equal access to education. Growing opportunities for diversely-abled individuals, for example, will require Opus 1 and its partners to pull source material from its new performance works to generate theories, techniques and technologies for application within degree-based curricula.
We recognize the importance of gathering such material over time, and the cyclical nature of discovery, development and deployment for leading-edge initiatives. To this end, EIAA education partners are selected by their commitment to the program's short- and long-term growth, their pledge to increase their capacity for accessible learning at a minimum of 5% per year, and testing of new modalities over multiple stages of research and development.
TAKE ACTION NOW
Live ON November 20th
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