Learning about artists through their art – and vice versa – we seek to create an open forum for conversation that engages concepts of disability, neurodiversity, narrative voice, art writing, and book-making. How do we rethink the problematic term “outsider art” and reconsider how all of us move between “inside” and “outside”? How do we build relationships, one-on-one and across communities, that contribute to this reimagining? This project connects institutions of higher education, art studios, and local and national arts organizations. Building narratives and relationships through speech, drawing, and the written word, we aim to find common ground, build access across boundaries of space and difference, and bring both art-making and storytelling into ethical visions that remake the world.
Samantha Mitchell is a an artist and writer based in Philadelphia. She was born in New York City and graduated from Oberlin College in 2008. She lived and worked in Illinois, Utah, California, and Oregon before enrolling in the MFA program of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, graduating in 2012. Aside from her work in the studio, Mitchell works as an adjunct professor and is the Arts and Exhibitions Coordinator at the Center for Creative Works, a studio for adults with developmental disabilities. She is an editor of Title Magazine, a publication devoted to writing on the arts in Philadelphia, and contributes regularly to The Brooklyn Rail and Brut Force.Her work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Grizzly Grizzly, and the International Print Center of New York, and is part of the permanent collection at the Woodmere Museum and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Center for Creative Works
The Center for Creative Works is a unique work environment with a goal of developing creative work potential and cultural identity for people with intellectual disabilities. Creative Works combines supported studio art development with work opportunities-including supported employment options – and community programming. Participants learn and work in drawing and painting, printmaking, ceramics, woodworking, sculpture, textiles, design, music and other media. A staff of mentor artists teach professional materials and techniques, with the goal of developing participants as artists, artisans, and designers. We foster individual expression and skill development, promoting our artists’ work through public exhibitions, art fairs, and other events in the community.
Director of College Writing Center and Visiting Assistant Professor of Independent College Programs
Kristin Lindgren is the director of the Writing Center and a visiting assistant professor of Independent College Programs at Haverford College, where she teaches courses in literature, writing and disability studies. She earned a BA at Dartmouth College, and MA at Columbia university, and a PhD at Bryn Mawr College. She is co-editor of two books on Deaf culture, Signs and Voices and Access, and author of numerous articles and essays on illness and disability. Her work appears in several collections, including Gendering Disability; Illness in the Academy, Disability and the Teaching of Writing, The Patient, and Disability and Mothering
Visiting Assistant Professor; Coordinator, Peace, Justice & Human Rights
Adam Rosenblatt is an interdisciplinary scholar of human rights and humanitarianism with a background that combines political theory, anthropology, and other fields such as science and technology studies. Hiscurrent transnational research explores how lost, neglected, and marginalized spaces of the dead lead to the creation of communities of care and resistance among the living. Other research and teaching interests include care ethics, neurodiversity/disability, and nonhuman animals. At Haverford College, his teaching includes seminars on “Human Rights and the Dead,” “Thinking Differently: Politics and Practices of Neurodiversity” (which is participating in a Philadelphia Area Creative Collaboratives grant), the community-engaged “Social Justice Organizations,” the introductory class in Peace, Justice, and Human Rights and other core seminars in the concentration.
Samantha Mitchell, Lead Artist
Artist in Residence
Samantha Mitchell lives in Philadelphia and has been working with the artists at The Center for Creative Works for several years. She will be on campus throughout the Spring 2018 Semester. The image above, ‘Mountain Knot’ is ink and watercolor on paper, 30 x 24 inches, made in 2016.
Neurodiversity in Contemporary Art w/, Disparate Minds
Presentation & Discussion
Disparate Minds co-founders Tim Ortiz and Andreana Donahue discuss current concerns at the intersection of art and disability studies while highlighting neurodivergent artists’ contributions to the contemporary art discourse. In the interest of progressing past trends in writing and exhibition typically associated with the now obsolete Outsider Art designation, Donahue and Ortiz trace a gradual paradigm shift over the past twenty years – the convergence of artists making work in facilitated art studios with an increasingly pluralistic art world. The image above is by CCW Artist Jenny Cox, “Black and White,” 18 x 24 inches, marker on paper, 2016
Andreana Donahue (born in Chicago, IL) is a multimedia artist, writer, and independent curator with a BFA in Painting and Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has organized and exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in Alaska, Chicago, Iceland, Los Angeles, NYC, Nevada, and Miami. Donahue’s project-based practice spans various narratives and media, yet reflects an ongoing relationship with the transformation of found materials through labor-intensive, analog processes. Her recent work reflects a deep engagement with abstraction, the history of quilting and a re-imagining of its utilitarian traditions. Artist residencies include the Wagon Station Encampment at A-Z West in Joshua Tree, The Icelandic Textile Center, SIM in Reykjavik, 100 West Corsicana in Texas, and the Vermont Studio Center. Currently based in the Southwest, she is an art handler and vocational trainer for individuals with disabilities who are entering the workforce. Donahue is the recipient of a 2018 Nevada Arts Council Fellowship and Vermont Studio Center Artist Grant, among others.
Tim Ortiz (born in Burlington, VT) is a painter and writer with a BFA from Elmira College in New York. Initially trained in traditional landscape painting and contemporary Photorealism, Ortiz’s work presently reflects a commitment to the practice of painting from a minimalist perspective – seeking the absolute through the deconstruction of mark-making, while rendering space and form in an abstract context. Ortiz began working with adults living with developmental disabilities in 2008, spending two years managing a caseload of over 100 individuals for a job training program before meeting Donahue in a progressive art studio. He has developed art programming for Special Education and High School students with Autism, and spent one year creating and providing weekly art-making sessions for seniors in a psychiatric hospital. He is currently a CNA and home/community-based personal care provider for adults with developmental disabilities.