Access Housing hosted a tenant art display and tenant-led forum at our Rivervale office in celebration of International Day of People with Disability on Wednesday 4 December.
International Day of People with Disability is a United Nations sanctioned day that is celebrated internationally each year on 3 December. It aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions.
Access Housing invited tenant artists living with a disability to showcase their artwork and lead forum conversations to discuss barriers, what works well and what needs to happen to improve inclusion in the arts for people with a disability.
The event commenced with tenant artists, Access Housing staff and other guests mingling in the foyer area of our Rivervale office to view the creative pieces on display. Artwork on show included paintings, photography, woodwork, pyrography and bottle top art created by 12 tenant artists.
Following the art exhibition, tenant artists lead a collaborative and strength-based forum to discuss their participation in art and raise awareness of opportunities that exist for meaningful and inclusive participation in the community via art for people living with a disability. Joining tenant artists in the forum were support workers, carers and staff from Fremantle Men’s Community Shed and APM.
Below is a snapshot of topics and comments made by tenant artists during the forum:
Tenant artists identified barriers to participating in art:
– Finite funding for support and the cost of materials and classes can limit participation.
– Knowing and having access to the support you need to participate in different art programs can be a challenge.
– Lack of confidence and belief as an artist living with a disability.
Tenant artists shared what worked well:
– Knowledge sharing with other artists with similar experiences of living with a disability.
– Exploring NDIS funding opportunities to pursue art as a career or hobby.
– Being savvy about materials; looking for alternatives, recycling and finding second hand goods.
Tenant artists discussed what needs to happen to improve participation in art for people with a disability:
– More projects and activities that are out in the community and not just a disability-specific program.
– Groups and activities that build confidence of artists and create networks with other artists and stakeholders.
Tenants said they enjoyed the opportunity to meet other artists and to learn from each other. Many said the event provided a way for them to build their networks and find support in fellow artists with a disability. Participants also said they felt confident and proud to see their art on display and that the display provided motivation to create more artwork.
Access Housing Tenant Engagement and Communications Officer Amy Kidner said the event generated other positive outcomes.
“Each participant said they thought the art display was beneficial for them and that the forum was an effective way to talk about disability inclusion,” Amy said.
“One of the most unexpected outcomes of the day was that we facilitated the sale of seven works of art. This was an amazing outcome and a wonderful milestone for one tenant who sold his first ever piece of art!”
“We plan to continue displaying art and running these sorts of events because of the positive impact we are seeing.”
Information captured during the forum will directly inform Access Housing’s tenant engagement and capacity building programs, disability engagement planning and feed into how Access Housing can refer tenants with a disability to arts services in the community.
“We know that our tenant artists who are living with a disability are the experts in the room when it comes to discussing disability inclusion in art. They know what works and what doesn’t,” Amy said.
“They are also willing to share their experiences with each other and with us so we can provide more inclusive tenant programs and create effective pathways into art for our tenants who are living with a disability.”
In recognition of their contributions to the art display and forum, tenant artists each received an art supply voucher to support their artistic pursuits. Staff also provided information about Access Housing’s Opportunities Fund, which provides financial assistance to eligible tenants to help them work towards achieving their wellbeing, education or employment goals.
“One of the participating artists from the event has already applied for funding through the Opportunities Fund to help support his ambition of becoming a recognised artist,” Amy said.
Access Housing extends its thanks to the Department of Communities (Disability Services) for its support of the event by way of a $1,000 International Day of People with Disability grant.