Gwen Frostic (April 26, 1906 – April 25, 2001) was an artist, author, and Michigan Women's Hall of Fame inductee. She also had an illness as a child that left her with disabilities similar to that of cerebral palsy. Recently, Dr. Frostic donated $13 million dollars to Western Michigan University, which named their school of art The Gwen Frostic School of Art. Art is often an area that we find individuals with disabilities are interested in pursuing – or already have an abundance of experience doing. We meet people who draw, paint, sculpt, sing, dance, act and take pictures. Many of them have opportunities to create, display and sell their work, but more often than not in segregated, special programs only for people with disabilities. And this confuses us because art is such a creative process that involves looking at things from many perspectives, solving complex problems and reflecting the world in various ways.
Many famous historical artists had and present day artists have disabilities. These disabilities range from autism, to epilepsy, to brain injury, to mental illness. These artists would never have been discovered if they had been hidden in special classes with their art only displayed in special shows.
We are looking for art instructors who are open and willing to find the next Van Gogh, Marlee Matlin, or Gwen Frostic. Let us know of programs where individuals with disabilities are celebrated fully for the artists they are and not hidden in special classes.