FYI, the Institute on Community Integration Staff Newsletter

August 2009

ICI Co-Hosts Arts & Disability Symposium at Weisman Art Museum, October 30

An engaging symposium focusing on strengthening opportunities for children, youth and adults with disabilities to participate in the arts will be held at the University’s Weisman Art Museum on October 30. “Changing Landscapes: Symposium on the Arts & Disability” is being sponsored by a coalition of University and community organizations to bring together artists with disabilities, disability service providers, arts instructors, arts advocates, University faculty/staff/students, and others from around the state to share ideas for supporting and increasing involvement of individuals with disabilities in the arts.

“We’re really excited about this event,” says symposium co-coordinator Megan Dushin. “Bringing together such great talent and speakers is sure to spark new ideas and new directions. We have a nationally-known keynote speaker, Tom di Maria, who is director of Creative Growth Art Center ( in Oakland, California. They’re a leader in fostering and exhibiting creativity by artists with disabilities internationally. We also have experienced panelists including arts faculty, our program partners, and artists. And we’ll have several exhibits on campus by Minnesota artists with disabilities.”

Funded by two grants to the Institute on Community Integration (ICI), the symposium is being co-sponsored by ICI, the Weisman, and Disability Services at the University, and by VSA arts of Minnesota, Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts, Rise Inc., and Partnership Resources Inc. in the community. The tentative agenda for the day includes:

  • Keynote Address: Tom di Maria, Creative Growth Art Center.

  • Panel Discussions:
    • Focus on Art Education: Art educators in K-12, University and adult community settings talk about their work with people with disabilities.

    • Focus on Artists: Artists with disabilities talk about their art work.

    • Focus on Community Arts Programming: Representatives from area arts programs discuss their models for art programming.

  • Exhibits: Artwork by artists with disabilities on display at the Weisman the day of the event, and at locations across campus prior to and following the event, including the Quarter Gallery in the Regis Art Center on the West Bank.

“We are so grateful to our funders and partners for supporting this landmark event,” says symposium co-coordinator Pat Salmi. “The success of the Changing Landscapes exhibits at ICI over the past two years gave us the idea to try to reach a larger audience with the message of inclusion in the arts for people with disabilities. Thanks to funding from the University’s Office of the Vice President and Vice Provost for Equity and Diversity, and the University’s Imagine Fund (supported by a generous donation from the McKnight Foundation), as well as the commitment of all the partners in this project, that early idea is becoming a reality.”

The event is free and open to the public, however pre-registration is required. The full agenda and registration information will be available in early September at or by contacting Megan at or 612-626-8649.