Disabled Women Make History (and Art!)

To celebrate the 23rd anniversary of Olmstead, my organization, Disability EmpowHer Network, collaborated with Toledo Museum of Art and the Ohio Olmstead Taskforce to create a really cool new event called Disabled Women Make History (and Art): A Celebration of the 23rd Anniversary of the Olmstead Decision! This fantastic event took place in the Glass Pavilion of the Toledo Museum of Art on Friday, June 24th, 2022.

Celebrating Disabled Women Artists

We celebrated disabled women artists, including Lois Curtis, also known as “L.C.” as in Olmstead v. L.C.  On June 22, 1999, the United States Supreme Court held in Olmstead v. L.C. that unjustified segregation of persons with disabilities constitutes discrimination in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Court held that public entities must provide community-based services to persons with disabilities. The two plaintiffs in this case were both disabled women; one of the women, Lois Curtis, is an artist herself, and we honored her contributions to disability rights and to art by screening her documentary The Art of Being L.C.! We also celebrated other disabled women artists and the incredible impacts they make on the world through their art and advocacy! 

Submissions from Disabled Women Artists

We invited disabled women artists of all skill levels to submit their artwork for consideration to be displayed during the event, and we received an overwhelming number of submissions! In the end, we selected seventeen pieces to feature and many of the artists joined us in person for the event! We had artists as young as 16 displaying their pieces, and for many, this was the first time they’ve ever shown their art publicly! The art ranged from scenic to ceramic to artistic activism and more. We also had one young high school student perform poetry at the event!

This was the first event of its kind and hopefully it will not be the last! We had almost 100 people attend the event and the responses have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic and positive. We are looking forward to planning another great event next year!

About Stephanie Woodward: Stephanie is a brand ambassador advisor for Quantum Rehab® and works as a disability rights activist. She has received many awards for helping communities become more accessible, as well as for her actions in fighting for the rights of disabled individuals as it relates to Medicaid and other support services. Click here to learn more about Stephanie.

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