The DSP&S program at Folsom Lake College began an annual Disability Awareness Art Week in 2008 with great success. We continue to host this innovative and creative event during Disability Awareness month in October each year. Entry to the show is open to all students with disabilities, including physical, psychological or learning disabilities, in each of the four Los Rios District Community Colleges. The event is held at the Folsom Lake College campus and spotlights the students' artistic achievements.
Students are invited to submit digital images of art work, including painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, jewelry, mixed media and new media. During The Disability Awareness Art Week, the students' artwork is projected digitally on plasma screens around campus and in a designated gallery space. This makes the show accessible to the entire college population, faculty members, staff and the general public.
Three scholarship stipends are awarded to the Best of Show, with judging by a panel from the FLC Art Department. Over 50 students submit artwork to the show, with more than 160 pieces of art shown.
There is an Opening Reception for college students and staff and a Community Reception and Awards evening to which the entire Sacramento community is invited. Student musicians perform during the receptions and refreshments are served. The art show also includes the work of a featured community guest artist with a disability.
The objective of FLC’s Disability Awareness Art Show is to raise awareness of the talents of students with disabilities in the Sacramento, Folsom and Placerville communities. By publicizing the show in local papers, websites, and around the four Los Rios campuses, we hope to get the campus and greater communities more involved and interested in the creative abilities of the disabled students within the Los Rios District. A further goal is to see students either discover new art talents or develop a confidence to exhibit and develop talent that previously lay dormant. This confidence has also been reflected in students’ class work and academic productivity.
Artistic expression can be a powerful tool for individuals when used to articulate perceptions, experiences and values. Art performance, as a form of personal and group expression, has the power to create a counterpoint narrative to the messages from the culture that ostracize and alienate members of traditionally marginalized cultural communities. Alternative identities, values and beliefs, in contrast to those of the "mainstream" culture, are created and communicated, acting as a positive cultural narrative that sends a message of strength, creativity and ability.
The annual Disability Awareness Art Week at Folsom Lake College presents an important aspect of this culture-building for a diverse group of students with disabilities.
The general public is invited to our Disability Awareness Art Show at which they get to meet the student artists at our Community Reception. The public is informed and made aware of the talents and abilities of students with disabilities and gain a new appreciation and perspective on the talents of persons with disabilities.