White text on a black background that reads “The Art of Disruption”, with “The Art of” on the top line and “Disruption” at the bottom. The center letters of both lines, “Art” and “rup”, are slightly detached from the letters on either side, forming a dip. The font, style, and thickness is different in each letter. The text is distorted by vertical lines that shift the position of the text slightly. In the top left corner is the DisArt logo and in the top right corner are the words “A DisArt Project”.

The Art of Disruption: Expressions of Black and Disabled Protest, A DisArt Project

Upcoming Event:

The Art of Disruption with Tasha Dougé, Anna Parisi, and Luciana Viegas

Project Overview

The Art of Disruption is an artist collective that explores the intersections of Black and disabled identities through visual art.

This project, which culminated after three years of dedicated development, originated from a local exhibition titled ‘Access is a Civil Right: The Photography of Tom Olin’ by Elizabeth VanArragon during the DisArt Festival in 2015 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This exhibition laid the foundational concept for what would evolve into a broader artistic endeavor.

Conceptualized in 2015 by curator Elizabeth VanArragon.


Over three years in development.

Participating Artists

28 Black and Disabled artists contributing to the project.

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 graygrey tank top and pictured in front of a wood paneled wall.
Jerron Herman is a dancer and writer who is compelled to create images of freedom. Image courtesy of Artist.

"Black and disability communities represent a disruption to the assumed normatively of whiteness and health. The presence of Black and disabled bodies in public spaces in and of itself is a form of protest within the white, non-disabled structures and systems that dominate public life in the United States."

Chris Smit

Co-Founder, DisArt

Exhibition Themes

The project is structured around four central themes, each chosen to deepen the understanding and discussion around the works. These themes not only frame the artworks but also serve as lenses through which visitors can engage with and reflect on the pieces, fostering an environment of growth and understanding.

Language Expansion

Exploring the power of narrative and communication in reshaping public perception and discourse around race and disability.


Highlighting the personal and communal practices that sustain individuals’ and communities’ identities and well-being.


Emphasizing the importance of collective effort and shared visions in the pursuit of societal change.

Continuous Becoming

Focusing on the evolving nature of identities and communities as dynamic and ever-changing processes.

Featured Art & Artists

The Art of Disruption showcases the works of 28 artists who identify as Black and Disabled. The artists employ their unique contemporary artistic practices to explore and express the nuanced interplay between race and disability, each adding a distinct voice to the collective narrative of activism and change.

A historical, black and white photograph of a disability rights protest taken by Tom Olin. 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.

Tom Olin

Access is a Civil Right

Olins’ historical black and white photography documents pivotal moments in the disability rights movement, drawing parallels to the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement.

Tasha Dougé

Work Title

Dougé’s reinterpretation of the American flag challenges conventional symbols of nationality and freedom.

An artistic installation featuring three folding chairs, with parts of each chair appearing to disintegrate into a cascade of small, dark beads that spill onto the gray floor. The surreal and striking composition creates a visual illusion of the chairs unraveling, set against a plain white background in a spacious gallery.

Alex Dolores Salerno

Work Title

Salerno’s installations comment on bodily autonomy and the personal experiences of navigating public spaces as a disabled individual.

Artist Participation

We welcome artists and community members to share their experiences with DisArt.

A blue sign mounted on a wooden post in an outdoor setting with the text 'Built and Maintained for Certain Bodies' in white letters. In the background, there is an outdoor display structure with metal frames and informational panels about community, visible under a semi-cloudy sky.
A blue sign attached to the ramp side of the Art of Disruption installation.

“The ‘Art of Disruption’ is not merely an exhibition. 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.”

Le’Andra LeSeur, Creative Director, DisArt

Juried Grand Prize Winner of ArtPrize in 2018

Thank You to Our Supporters

DisArt is incredibly fortunate to have had the unwavering support of generous early adopters and donors throughout the project’s extensive research and development phase. Their invaluable contributions have propelled the initiative forward, allowing it to flourish and make a lasting impact.

ArtPrize Logo
Dégagé Ministries Logo
Fast Signs Logo
Ford Foundation Logo
Grand Rapids Community Foundation Logo
National Endowment for the Arts Logo
Steelcase Logo
Spanish Language Internship Program

Excited about the ‘Art of Disruption’ and want to support its evolution and growth?

Your donation of any amount is greatly appreciated and will allow us to continue to use the power of art to challenge conventions, ignite conversations, and inspire societal change.