Funding the New House (Come to Our Pizza Party)
I saw Mia Mingus, writer and community organizer, give a presentation at DePaul University this April. Speaking on disability justice, Mia compared the society we live in to a burning house. Because our society has marginalized so many different populations, she believes that it cannot last forever. She hopes that by using disability justice, we can stop trying to insert ourselves into this burning house, and instead build a new one. When she asked the audience to think about what that new house would look like, The Arts of Life immediately came to my mind as I realized that the kind of community she was describing already exists in our studios. As a person with a physical disability, I have experienced doctors, public schools, social workers, government agencies, medical companies, and universities assume that their ability to manage my life was greater than my own. I have watched able-bodied people make bad decisions for me throughout my entire life. I have experienced living in the burning house and have found that it is difficult. This is why The Arts of Life community is so important to me. I first began working with The Arts of Life just two short years ago as a studio volunteer. I soon learned that people with developmental disabilities are not included in decisions made about their lives either. When it comes to being trusted, believed, respected, included, and appreciated the artists have it worse than I do simply because their disabilities are different from mine. At the studio, though, it is different. The Arts of Life respects disabled people’s right to be listened to, which seems simple, but is a right we are often denied. When the artists enter this community, where they are treated as capable adults, they are able to realize their full potential.So, when I was asked to join The Arts of Life Associate Board over a year ago, I knew I could not say no. The Associate Board is a small group of individuals dedicated to The Arts of Life’s mission and goals that plans various fundraisers to help keep our two studios open. The board is just over a year old (and is still looking for members!). During our first year working together we have found that the best way to fund the new house is by creating a community to sustain ours. I write this post today in hopes that those reading will be a part of that community by joining us at the events we hold throughout the year. Our next fundraiser “Restin’ Pizza” will take place on Thursday, June 12th at Dimo’s Pizza on 1615 N Damen Avenue from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. During this time, The Arts of Life will receive $1 per every slice of pizza sold. There will be artwork on display that you can purchase, as well as The Arts of Life merchandise for sale. We will also have music playing from our very own The Arts of Life Band. So, check out our Facebook event, clear your calendar, learn more about Dimo’s Pizza, and join us Thursday. If you can keep up with our goofy names and awesome artwork, we promise you will have a good time and learn some things about the new house we have built.