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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Perceptions of Flow: ‘Movement’ at the Evanston Art Center highlights artists with disabilities

Madeline King/The Daily Northwestern
Perceptions of Flow: “Movement” is on display at the Evanston Art Center now through April 28.

The Perceptions of Flow: “Movement” exhibit showcases the experiences of local artists with disabilities through photography. It opened at the Evanston Art Center on March 30.

The black and white film photographs featured in the exhibit include both portraits and action shots of artists from Arts of Life, a Chicago nonprofit dedicated to providing employment opportunities to artists with developmental and intellectual disabilities. 

Exhibit curator Crystal McDonald approached Arts of Life with the idea for the display to showcase accessibility in the arts, she said.

She dedicated the exhibit to her friend and community service worker Olivia Terry, honoring her more than 20 years of work in the Chicago area with youth, elderly and those with disabilities.

McDonald said it is important to create accessible spaces that make every person feel “safe to engage” with artistic mediums. 

“Art is a place to cultivate that type of mentality because you don’t have to explain your differences, or you don’t have to explain your quirks,” McDonald said. 

Photographer Genesis Falls captured the photos featured in the exhibit, including ones that depict Terry putting on a knee brace and using a cane. Falls said black and white film photography is her typical chosen medium because she feels the lack of color “tells more of a story.” 

Falls said she wants exhibit viewers to see that there are no limits as to who can be an artist or what can qualify as art. 

“I think people should see this exhibit mainly because I feel like in the art world, there’s always a certain perception of what an artist should look like,” Falls said. 

Perceptions of Flow: “Movement” follows the center’s Perceptions of Flow: “Formation” exhibit, which showed artwork created by Arts of Life artists. Both exhibits focus on the interaction between viewers and artists’ creative processes, according to McDonald.  

Brian Reed, one of the artists who showcased pieces in the earlier exhibit, said he hopes viewers liked his work and will learn more about his organization. 

“I wish they knew more about Arts of Life,” Reed said. He added that working with the people at the organization has been a great experience. 

Five poems written by Claretta Holsey, Lateef McLeod, DJ Savarese and Jorrell Watkins accompanied both exhibits, McDonald said. Two are currently displayed in Perceptions of Flow: “Movement.”

An opening reception for Perceptions of Flow: “Movement” will be held on April 7. The exhibit will remain open until April 28.

Arts of Life Home and Community Programs Manager Annie Soler said she hopes visitors “see how much people with disabilities have to offer.”

“I’m excited to see people with disabilities be more involved in their communities because I think that our artists are pretty amazingly talented,” Soler said. “I think that there’s a lot of barriers that we’re still working to overcome, but I’m really hopeful for the future.” 

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X: @madelineking_18

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