Disability in the Arts Gallery Showcase (Dates Extended!)

The exhibit will be extended and will be open onTuesday April 2nd – Wednesday April 3rd from 9 am – 4:30 pm.

The Human Development Institute (HDI) will be holding an art gallery at its Center for Assistive Technology (CATS) from March 26 to March 29.

The gallery, open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., will celebrate and showcase art by artists with disabilities as well as the assistive technology that creatives can use to bring their creative vision to life. 

“We want to reach out to the community and share the talents and expertise of some Kentucky artists,” Dr. Kathy Sheppard-Jones, Executive Director of HDI, said. “It’s also a great way to check out CATS, learn about assistive technology, and celebrate Developmental Disability Awareness month!”

Nancy Savage, an administrative assistant at HDI and one of the show’s organizers, said that the art and artists showcased vary wildly. 

“There is a wide range of styles ranging from mixed-media, photography, graphic medicine and an art-related assistive technology display,” she said. 

The gallery will include students with disabilities from across the state who participated in a nonprofit program called ArtsforAllKy. Also participating are artists from the UK College and Career Studies program in mediums from traditional art to photos to comics. There are even a few artists, such as Brittany Granville and Erin Fitzgerald, who are part of the HDI staff, and local artists such as Melissa Armasal and Carter Underwood. 

A big part of the gallery’s goal is to provide multiple forms of meaningful representation for disability in the arts. 

“The disability experience is represented in multiple ways. The artists are disabled. The gallery also includes photographs that include people who have lived disability experience,” Sheppard-Jones said. “Unfortunately, stock photography is not inclusive of disability. Representation matters. This sample of photos is taken from the Human Development Institute photo library. The show also includes some assistive technology devices that gallery visitors can try out to experience a variety of ways that art can be created.”

CATS is located at 2358 Nicholasville Road, suite 180 in Lexington. The photo library can reached at https://www.flickr.com/people/198826134@N02/ and was created by HDI staff members Haley Potter, Kari Batts, Adam Potter, and Eric Seale in collaboration with models from Kentucky.

Four people smiling and laughing with their arms around each other. Trees are in the background.

HDI Photo Library Available Now!

Stock photography lacks disability representation. The photos are often staged and use models without disabilities resulting in misrepresentation and unnatural scenes.  Staff from the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute (HDI) wanted to address this problem with the Photo Library Fund for Excellence Project. Their goal was to create accurate and diverse stock photos highlighting disability representation. 

Haley Potter, Program Assistant, applied for internal funding for this innovative project to address the needs of people with disabilities. She and her colleagues, Kari Batts, Adam Potter, and Eric Seale worked with approximately 50 self-advocates, family members, and friends who served as models for five photoshoots across four months. All models were paid to participate in a one-hour photoshoot, which resulted in over 1,000 photographs highlighting disability representation. 

These photos are available to view, download, share, and use to create and enhance visual and digital products, social media posts, and project websites. 

View the HDI photo library at www.flickr.com/people/198826134@N02/. Click photostream to view all photos.

Learn more about the Human Development Institute.

Contact beth.potter@uky.edu with any questions.