Institute on Disabilities at Temple University

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Art Installation at Capitol Rotunda Features the Voices and Images of People with Disabilities

September 2015

PHOTO of smiling woman wearing hat with text reading: I'm a hat lady.

The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, College of Education will present a multimedia art installation entitled Here. Stories from Selinsgrove Center and KenCrest Services. Here. will be exhibited from October 19 through October 23, at the Capitol Building Main Rotunda, Harrisburg, PA. An opening reception and gallery talk will be held on Wednesday, October 21.

Through image and audio interviews, Here. Stories from Selinsgrove Center and KenCrest Services invites viewers to meet 19 people with intellectual disabilities who live and work in Pennsylvania. The settings (a State center and a sheltered workshop) may be new to many viewers, but the exhibit offers insight into the lives of the "narrators" by way of 18 volunteer "interviewers" who visited them at the Selinsgrove Center and KenCrest Services in the spring of 2015.

Audio interviews and photographs by renowned photographer JJ Tiziou tell a complex story and highlight the rich humanity of people who are often seen for their difference, if at all. Visitors will access audio interviews in specially designated listening areas and will have the opportunity to interface with the exhibit through writing and sending messages to the featured narrators and interviewers. Visitors will hear people with intellectual disabilities share how they live, work and participate in the community. While the interviews play, visitors will see beautiful, honest images of the speakers at home and at work.

Here. is part of a yearlong arts and civic engagement project called A Fierce Kind of Love. Celia Feinstein, the Institute's co-executive director, says that A Fierce Kind of Love, including the exhibit Here., evolved from the Institute's Visionary Voices program. "Our objective has been to collect the stories of people with disabilities who lived through, and benefited from, the Intellectual Disabilities Movement of the 70's and 80's and from the family members, policy makers and others who helped shepherd that movement."

An opening reception for Here. will be held at 1:15pm on Wednesday, October 21 at the Main Rotunda. Nancy Thaler, Deputy Secretary, Office of Developmental Programs, and Kevin Dressler, Director of State Operated Intermediate Care Facilities will introduce the exhibit.

The reception follows a lecture on The Importance of Belonging by special educator and consultant David Pitonyak. This lecture will address the impact of loneliness on people with disabilities. Mr. Pitonyak will also facilitate a gallery talk, Who Holds Our Stories, during the reception. Participants in the gallery talk include the artist, curators and many of the individuals represented in the exhibit. Details about the lecture can be found on the Institute's website: www.disabilities.temple.edu/programs/miniseries/

Lisa Sonnenborn, producer of A Fierce Kind of Love says that this exhibit invites viewers to look and listen differently. "Here. finds beauty in the dignity of work, in giving and receiving support, and in the simple act of being."

More information about Here. Stories from Selinsgrove Center and KenCrest Services can be found at www.AFierceKindOfLove.org.

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Institute on Disabilities at Temple University
University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service