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DisArt

‘The Art of Disruption’ Preview News Release

September 2, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Preview: ‘The Art of Disruption: Expressions of Black and Disabled Protest’

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN [Date] DisArt announces a preview of our upcoming ‘Art of Disruption’ exhibition, a groundbreaking showcase of innovative works by Black and Disabled artists. This collection boldly demonstrates the profound interplay of race and disability, shedding light on parallel histories of activism and advocating for transformative change. ‘Art of Disruption’ is made possible by funding and in-kind support from the Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Conduit Studio, SideCar Studios, SiTE:LAB, Frey Foundation, Steelcase Inc., FASTSIGNS, in addition to ArtPrize.

A historical black and white civil rights protest photograph featuring black men with signs that read “I am a man” and “union justice now!”.
Image Description: A historical black and white photograph of a civil rights protest. A group of black men in 1960s era clothes form a line at the front, with signs either pinned to their shirts or in their hands that read “I am a man”, with “am” underlined, or “union justice now!”. There is a crowd behind them also holding signs with different slogans.
A historical black and white photograph of a disability rights protest.
Image Description: A historical, black and white photograph of a disability rights protest. The crowd marches straight towards the viewer, led by three wheelchair users and a person with a service dog. The wheelchair user on the left holds up a large sign that reads “We shall overcome.” The wheelchair user to their right has a sign that reads “Access is a civil right” draped across their legs. The crowd behind them is vast and diverse.

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION: At the heart of ‘Art of Disruption’ lies a deep appreciation for four essential themes: Language Expansion, Self-Preservation, Collaboration, and Continuous Becoming. These themes serve as catalysts for reshaping our understanding of interpersonal relationships, fostering an environment of growth that honors the significance of adopting mindful processes and intentional care for both individuals and communities.

Jerron in motion with his left arm in front of him and his right arm above and behind him.
Image Description: Jerron, a black man with short hair and short facial hair, pictured in motion from the hips up. His left arm is held at a 90 degree angle with his arm close to his body, his fist clenched. His right arm is raised above and behind him, his hand relaxed. He is wearing a grey tank top and pictured in front of a wood paneled wall.

‘Art of Disruption’ exhibition and community events embrace the intricacies, paradoxes, and bonds that connect humanity with space, place, and each other. By reimagining existing structures to embrace the potential for progress inherent in genuine care, ‘Art of Disruption’ pioneers new ways to commune, connect, and collaborate. Artists weave change into their work through meaningful conversation and conscious communication. Ensuing narratives emerge not from the outside, but rather from a place of inner reflection and growth. Rooted in community and fueled by a shared purpose greater than the individual, the ‘Art of Disruption’ embodies the shared values of collective growth and well-being.

A photograph of a blue industrial sign in front of a concrete staircase leading to a path through a forest. The sign reads “Build and Maintained for Certain Bodies”.
Image Description: A photograph of a blue industrial sign in front of a concrete staircase with white and silver railings leading to a path through a forest. Trees and plants bend and hang over the stairs. The sign reads “Build and Maintained for Certain Bodies”.

While the full exhibition will not be showcased until 2024,  the ‘Art of Disruption’ preview will commence with the installation of an outdoor community space between September 8–14. After installation of the structure, a series of public events will take place during ArtPrize between September 14–October 1, where Art of Disruption artists will collaborate closely with local community members in and around Heartside Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

As part of this remarkable collaboration, DisArt will once again join forces with Paul Amenta and SiTE:LAB by building upon the foundation of a previous installation titled “Hybrid Structure.” Paul Amenta, a prominent figure in the art community, will serve as an advisor, lending his expertise to the construction process. DisArt will also partner with SiTE:LAB to curate programming centered around themes related to Race and Disability, further enriching the exhibition experience.

“The ‘Art of Disruption’ is not merely an exhibition,” reveals DisArt Creative Director Le’Andra LeSeur, a multidisciplinary artist whose work includes video, installation, photography, painting, and performance. LeSeur was awarded the $200,000 juried grand prize at the 10th international ArtPrize in 2018. “It is a testament to the power of art to challenge conventions, ignite conversations, and inspire societal change. We invite community members to join us in celebrating this transformative journey as we uncover new perspectives, forge connections, and amplify the work and unique perspectives of Black and Disabled artists.”

For more information, please visit DisArt at disartnow.org or ArtPrize at artprize.org

About DisArt: DisArt is committed to cultivating and celebrating Disability Culture by using the power of creative expression to transform physical, sensory, and attitudinal barriers, especially those of the imagination.  We strive to provide everyone in every community the opportunity to engage with the arts in ways that value their unique viewpoints, experiences, and talents.  Through exhibitions, events, and consulting, DisArt advocates for greater inclusivity and accessibility, creating spaces where both disabled artists and audiences can thrive. 

About ArtPrize: ArtPrize is an open, international art competition that takes place for 18 days in the fall in Grand Rapids, Michigan. These citywide art experiences encourage critical discourse, celebrate artists, transform urban space, and promote cultural understanding. 

For Media Inquiries and Interview Requests, contact:

Lawrence Carter-Long, DisArt Co-Director

Email: Lawrence@DisArtNow.org


*All events are at Heartside Park unless otherwise noted

WEEK 1

Thursday, September 14, 7:30pm – 8:30pm EST | Film Screening of ‘Underlands’ by RA Walden

Friday, September 15, 7pm – 10pm EST | Opening Night Party hosted by SiTE:LAB (Ritsu Katsumata, Cabildo, DJ SuperDre)

Saturday, September 16, 11am – 8pm EST | HeartPrize, a project of the Heartside Business Association, will activate Heartside Neighborhoods opening weekend of ArtPrize *throughout Heartside Neighborhood

Sunday, September 17, 11am – 6pm EST | HeartPrize will activate Heartside Neighborhoods opening weekend of ArtPrize *throughout Heartside Neighborhood

Sunday, September 17, 4pm – 6pm EST | Partner Activation 
with Grand Rapids Downtown Market (Artist To Be Announced)

WEEK 2

Monday, September 18, 7pm – 8pm EST | Listening Session of ‘The Clearing’ by JJJJJerome Ellis

Tuesday, September 19, 7pm – 8pm EST | Listening Session of ‘The Clearing’ by JJJJJerome Ellis

Wednesday, September 20, 1pm – 2pm EST | Care, Dignity, and Belonging are Necessary in DEI Work, Online Lunch ‘n Learn, Register for Zoom Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/care-dignity-and-belonging-are-necessary-in-dei-work-lunch-n-learn-tickets-698013867267?aff=oddtdtcreator

Wednesday, September 20, 7pm – 8pm EST | Listening Session of ‘The Clearing’ by JJJJJerome Ellis

Thursday, September 21, 6pm – 7pm EST | The Embodiment of Material, Online Artist Panel, Register for Zoom Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-embodiment-of-material-virtual-artist-panel-tickets-697976726177?aff=oddtdtcreator

Friday, September 22, 12 noon EST | Community Gathering and Lunch – 40 meals will be provided to community members 1st come. Please bring your lunch and join us

Friday, September 22, 7:30pm – 8:30pm EST | Film Screening of ‘Underlands’ by RA Walden

Saturday, September 23, 2pm – 3:30pm EST | Josiah Golson Artist Workshop

Sunday, September 24, 4pm – 6pm EST | Partner Activation with local artist Reyna Garcia (Arts, Culture, and Disability GR)

WEEK 3

Monday, September 25, 7pm – 8pm EST | Listening Session of ‘The Clearing’ by JJJJJerome Ellis

Tuesday, September 26, 7pm – 8pm EST | Listening Session of ‘The Clearing’ by JJJJJerome Ellis

Wednesday, September 27, 1pm – 2pm EST | Disrupting Norms: Access in Branding, Lunch ‘n Learn, Register for Zoom Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/disrupting-norms-access-in-branding-tickets-698015281497?aff=oddtdtcreator

Wednesday, September 27, 7pm – 8pm EST | Listening Session of ‘The Clearing’ by JJJJJerome Ellis

Canceled : Thursday, September 28, 3pm – 5pm EST | Partner Activation with Lexi Newland

Thursday, September 28, 6pm – 7:30pm EST | Process as Resolve, Online Artist Panel, Register for Zoom Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/process-as-resolve-virtual-artist-panel-tickets-698025461947?aff=oddtdtcreator

Canceled : Thursday, September 28, 8pm – 9pm EST | Film Screening of ‘Underlands’ by RA Walden

Friday, September 29, 12 noon EST | Community Lunch

Friday, September 29, 3pm – 4:30pm EST | Jeff Kasper Artist Workshop

Saturday, September 30, 4pm – 5pm EST | Jerron Herman Artist Performance

October 1, 4pm – 5pm EST | Partner Activation with local artist Reyna Garcia (Arts, Culture, and Disability GR)


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