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Disability seminar hosts art show

Joseph McMahon | Friday, November 21, 2008

Students in the College of Arts and Letters Disability seminar hosted “Art from the Heart,” a showcase of paintings and photographs by the disabled clients of the Logan Center, Thursday evening in O’Shaugnessey Hall.

Professor Essaka Joshua said her 16 students had to design a project with the clients of the Logan Center as a course requirement.

“It’s developed as a project which is part of the assessment for the college seminar on disability,” she said. “It’s a chance for the students to create, in partnership with the Logan Center, an event and a display of art.”

Joshua said the project allowed her students to see the importance art plays in the lives of people with disabilities.

“It’s a student project investigating how art impacts the lives of people with disabilities,” she said. “What I wanted the students to do was to assume the idea of inclusive art in the context of the Logan Center. The idea was to put people with disabilities behind the cameras as well as in front of the cameras.”

Logan Center community-based learning coordinator Nichole Maguire originally suggested the idea for the art show.

“I geared them towards doing an art show because it’s really cool to see the artwork for our clients and how they express themselves,” Maguire said. “It’s visually stimulating for the clients and it’s also just fun. I like the idea of giving them a blank slate … that way they can really be creative and express themselves.”

Sophomore Jason Deska, who is a student in the seminar, said the project allowed the students to closely interact with the clients and was mutually rewarding.

“Once we started talking to the clients and saw how excited they were for it we knew it was definitely a good idea,” he said.

Deska said he was often surprised by how many of the photographs were of high quality, and he said it was hard to decide which images were the best.

“There was one role where there was only one picture that was even usable, but there were some where it was hard to single out one as the best,” he said.

Sophomore Casey Larkin said she was surprised by the creativity of some of the clients she worked with, who took pictures around the Logan Center with disposable cameras.

“We just kind of wandered around Logan Center and told them to take pictures of anybody and anything they wanted,” Larkin said. “It was a lot of fun. I did not expect the art to come out as well as it did.”

Larkin said some of the clients had amazing artistic vision and were able to find amazing pictures.

“They had better eyes than I did. There were some where I was thinking, ‘Why would you take a picture of that?’ And they you see it and you think, ‘Oh my goodness,'” she said.

Joshua said it was important for her students to become integrated into the work of the Logan Center clients, and the project helped teach them many valuable lessons about working with people with disabilities.

“The clients at the Logan Center did their own compositions and they’ve been going through classes learning how to hold cameras, and I think students were excited to be involved in that because it’s a service placement and they’re learning about the mechanics of charitable organizations and project management,” she said.