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Disability Arts Online

Question 3. Do You Prefer ‘Artist with Disability’ or ‘Disability Arts’?

Leni D. Anderson  Columbus, Ohio, US
It’s not something I’ve really thought about, but since you are asking the question I prefer saying I’m an artist that happens to have a disability.

Loretta Bebeau  Minneapolis, Minnesota US
I prefer Artist with Disability.. I don't “feel" disabled as an artist. The best artists in this area, mainstream themselves. (They) do not hang around talking about disability, rather they talk about making clarity in their art. Is the art holding together conceptually and mechanically?

The best artists don't talk about getting old, they are busy with art. They just adapt and change direction to get to the goal another way.  .. Putting "disability" first is a negative categorization.

Allen Bryan Brooklyn, New York, US
Neither. Are you asking about the work or the artist? The work should speak and be judged without disclaimer or apology.

Liz Doles Newburgh, New York, US
I prefer ‘Artist with disability’ I suppose as it puts the artist first as in ‘persons with disabilities’.

Joan Fabian Antonio, Texas, US
I prefer artist with a disability. 

Barbara Freeman Cincinnati, Ohio, US
Neither. Why should my work be marginalized? Why should I be marginalized?

David S. Forbes  Queensland, Australia
I am an ‘artist with a disability’; I don’t necessarily involve myself in ‘disability arts’.

Ju Gosling aka ju90 London UK
Neither: - ‘disabled artist’. I would never describe myself as an artist with a disability, it would be as irrelevant as describing myself as an artist with green eyes. But I am proud to identify as part of the international Disability Arts movement.

Busser Howell Troy, Ohio, US
I am a mainstream artist that straddles between the mainstream and the disabled venues.  I do not paint for the disabled community –I paint for the sighted community and would prefer not to be discriminated against because I do not see.

Simon Mckeown North Yorkshire
(I prefer) ‘Disability Arts’ – It is a genre with a clear conception/place in society.  This area needs greater recognition to reflect the numerical basis of disability within society. I am relaxed though, as I appreciate that I am also trying to reach a wide audience with my work, and sometimes this requires a pragmatic attitude.

US Artist (Quoted anonymously)
Artist with disability (preferred).

Amy Miller Florida USA
‘Artist with disability’.  Because if you take off disability, I still am an artist.

Stephanie Moore, Director of VSA Arts (1992 - Sept 2010) Produced ‘Revealing Culture’ 2010 and the International Festival of Arts & Disability in Washington DC. 

Is the (VSA) choice of ‘Arts and Disability’ a considered alternative to ‘disability arts’? 
VSA uses person-first language which is standard in America.  My understanding of the term disability arts is art made by disabled people which reflects the experience of disability. I do not think that applies to all of the exhibiting artists within the (Revealing Culture) exhibition.  Some would question how the experience of disability matters if at all.

Janet Morrow  Bedford, Texas US
I notice that the British website refers to us as “disabled artists” and the American website uses “artists with disabilities.” I prefer “artists with disabilities,” because I feel that I am an artist first and a person with disabilities second; however I realize my preference is probably conditioned by my cultural exposure here in the United States.

Isaac Powell Richmond, Kentucky, US
(I prefer)  ‘Artist with disability’. It could be that I am more familiar with this term. However, “disability arts” implies that the art will have something to do with disability. Whereas artist with disability, assumes that it is any art (type, subject, etc) made by an artist with a disability.

Janet Yagoda Shagam Albuquerque, New Mexico, US
In my professional role as a medical and science writer, it is best to say “an artist who has a disability”. Doing so respects and acknowledges that my disability is only a part of me. I am also a wife, mother, teacher, gardener, friend, writer, and an artist.

Bill Shannon Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US
‘Artist with disability’  – or ‘Disability Arts’?
I prefer artist.

Katherine Sherwood  Rodeo, California, US 
(I prefer) Disability arts.