DisArt Symposium: Disability Arts Now!

April 6 – 8, 2017

Grand Rapids, Michigan


In April 2017, DisArt produced the DisArt Symposium: Disability Arts Now!. This three-day gathering of Disabled artists, academics, and community organizers focused on the themes of Identity, Design, and Community. Over 30 talented participants from all over the world presented in an experimental, cutting-edge accessible design space. Additionally, artists Lawrence Carter-Long, Kris Lenzo, and Terry Galloway each provided thought-provoking evening performances that complemented the symposium experience.

The cornerstone exhibition of the symposium was held that The Fed Galleries at KCAD of Ferris State University and featured the work of Riva Lehrer who is considered one of the foremost artists and activist for Disability Culture.

Presenter: Julie McNamara

Title: Unruly Minds Unleashed

Video: Not Available

Presenter: Devva Kasnitz with Susan Fitzmaurice

Title: Devva Kasnitz with Susan Fitzmaurice: Performing Disability Self-Portraits, or Mute Mime Performs Paper or “How do you get Riva to do your portrait?”

Keynote Presenter: Riva Lehrer

Title: Riva Lehrer: “Presence and Absence: The Paradox of Disability and Portraiture”

Presenter: Jenna Reid

Title: The Aesthetics of Mad Art: Unpacking the Relationships Between Madness and Disability Arts and Culture

Presenter: Jessica Cooley, Declan Gould, Debra Keenahan, Stefanie Snider

Title: Material Conditions of Disability in Art and Its Histories

Presenation: Not Available

Presenter: Cheryl Green

Title: Acquiring A Broken Brain for Laughter and Tears: Representations of Brain Injury in Film

Video: Not Available

Presenter: Alison Kopit

Title: Crip Aesthetics and Performing the Score of Myself

Presenter: Jim Ferris

Title: What Holds (the Stone Together: On Disability, Race, Identity)

Presenter: Lawrence Carter-Long

Title: Beyond Trends and Tropes: Grindhouse, Arthouse and the Wacky Wonderful World of Underground Disability Cinema

Presenter: Paul Amenta, Ted Lott, Alois Kronschlaeger, Chris Smit

Title: Hybrid Structures

Presenter: Sara Hendren

Title: Public is Plural: Disability, Design, and Audiences for our Work

Presenter: nili Broyer

Title: Crip Design: Affirming Disability, Contaminating Normalcy

Presenter: Beth Bienvenu

Title: Voices From the Fields: Results from an Online Dialogue on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities

Presenter: Benedict Phillips

Title: 3D Thinkers in a 2D World

Presenter: Ann Fox

Title: Disability and the Art of Quiet Protest: Stephen Karam’s The Humans

Presentation: Not Available

Presenter: Eliza Chandler, Nadine Changfoot, Carla Rice

Title: Compelled into Art: Cultivating Disability Art through Revisioning Difference


Presenter: Lu Auz

Title: Pedagogy and Practice: Teaching an Interdisciplinary Art History and Disability Studies Course

Video: Not Available

Presenter: Xing Cui, Keith Hansen

Title: Interior Design Solutions

Presentation: Not Available


Keynote Presenter: Julie McNamara

Title: Vital Voices


Presenter: Terry Galloway, Julie McNamara, Donna Nudd, Chris Smit, Jill Vyn

Title: “Boo Hoo Hoo and Screw You, Too!” (Radicalizing the Community Conversation about Disability in the Arts)

Presentation: Not Available


Presenter: Ruth Gould

Title: Survival of the Crippists

Presenter: KBOGroup (Keith Oberfield and Michele Ross) and DisArt (Chris Smit and Jill Vyn)

Title: Event Planning Seminar for GR Professionals

Presentation: Not Available