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Artist with Down's Syndrome has art featured around the world

Very often, the conversation surrounding disability launches from what the individual is unable to do or is lacking. In the 1950s, many such individuals were institutionalized, kept apart from their families and the rest of society. One little girl with Down's Syndrome was institutionalized when she was 7 years old as a way of providing for her long-term care.

However, in the 70s and 80s with the costs associated with facilities of this nature, and with more psychiatric drugs hitting the market, almost all of these institutions were shut down. This meant that there was not always a place for these now displaced individuals to go. The no-longer 7-year-old girl grew into an adult and was taken in by her twin sister that was not affected by Down's Syndrome.

Her sister enrolled the woman in the Creative Growth Art Center, where this little girl that had been shut away blossomed into a remarkable artist in her adulthood. Making sculptures with a variety of fiber mediums, this woman became the first artist with Down's Syndrome to have her art featured in permanent collections in major art hubs around the world.

Programs like this are a remarkable way to give voice to individuals that suffer with disabilities of varying natures, "many of whom have not been asked to communicate with the world most of their lives. They have been evaluated by what they cannot do and suddenly at Creative Growth they have the power of having a dialogue with society and the world," says the program's creative director.

So while financially providing for the long-term care of a disabled individual is of course important, it is equally important to call emphasis on the fact that while these individuals do need financial support, they also require support that allows them to have a voice and opinion that is received.

Source: The Atlantic, "Where Great Art Transcends Disability," Amelia Rachel Hokule'a Borofsky Dec. 13, 2012

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