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Experiences of disabled artists doing art in a community art centre

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How adults with disabilities and health conditions experience creating art in a community art centre was explored in this qualitative study. Areas of interest included the influence of place on art making and art making on personal well-being. Eleven adults who regularly engaged in their own art at the Creative Spirit Art centre in Toronto, Canada were interviewed. Interviews were recorded and analysed thematically. Major themes were found: ‘presence in art’; ‘a culture for expression’; and ‘personal benefits’. Participants described how they were present with their art, which emphasized a sense of awareness while they were creating their art. They described how the relationship between the environment and personal energies influenced their art and sense of being valued and respected as artists. The findings from this study contribute to the power that art making in an enabling, supportive community setting as a valued activity influences identity, mindful occupational engagement and the well-being of individuals with disability and health conditions.

Keywords: art; community; disability; inclusion; place; presence

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jaac.3.1.39_1

Affiliations: 1: University of Toronto 2: Creative Spirit Art Centre

Publication date: May 4, 2012

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