Saturday, December 27, 2014

Transforming Lifes

Working Towards
Changing Lives

Nick Indigenous Artist
Redbank Plains

How does ArtISabilty work?

I meet Nick through his dad & mum.  Nick comes from a line of artists and is creative in many ways.  The first introduction is the point of connection.  Simply by meeting Nick over lunch with his parent Nick and I connected and he was able to reveal a bag of treasures. About ten exercise books of drawings nobody knew much about.

Talking to Nick the first time was like watching Nick come to life. Nicks disabilities can make communication difficulty - Nick wrongly believed he could not be an artist because he was unable to read or write, However look through the pages and pages of Nicks artwork enabled Nick to clearly communicate his passion for art to me. 

After reassuring Nick that it was possible to learn most art skills without the ability to read and write I began encouraging Nick with his artwork in very simple ways, like buying him a packet of pencils and seeing what he would do with them.

Much of the development as an artist is about experimentation with the development of artistic skills.  Nick and I keep in contact as I continued to design and develop ArtISability.

Connecting with other artists, sharing ideas and encouraging each other is another essential part of growing as an artists.  And guess what? It doesn't require the ability to read. However access to information and communication remain barriers for Nick developing his art practice and selling his artwork.

Nick came along to ArtISability pilot program.

Along with four other artists Nick developed his skills in sculpture. The ArtISability Program enables artist to develop their skills in a supported learning environment, free from judgement. 

The ArtISability Foundation Stone Program has several goals:

  • Forming friendship and an artist network
  • Development of artistic skills
  • Working with mentors
  • An Introduction to the local arts community
  • Sharing of information including opportunities for further growth
  • Connections to the arts community
It is the connections with like mind people who can encourage our artists in their journey that enables ArtISability to be a success story.
Nick became known for his adventurous creative ideas during the program. Nick knows how to dream and can clearly states his artistic goals.  

"Nicks goal is to be a professional artists
reflecting his indigenous culture."

Nick began his professional life as an artist with a first and second prize in the Ipswich Show Societies - Fine Arts Section in the Special Needs Category, Nick also entered work in the ceramic section and began building his art portfolio. ArtISability was able to support Nick by assisting him to complete the paperwork to enter the Ipswich Show Society Annual Competition. 

Nick has been industrious during 2014 looking for the right market to sell his artwork and keenly turning up to the majority of ArtISability events. Including becoming the face of ArtISability Unmasked Art Exhibition. 

Nick completed a very successful first year as a professional artist with another first place at Angicare's Art Competition, which he entered on his own initiative without any support from ArtISability.  Nick is just one artists that ArtISability has assisted in transforming his life.

Not only has Nick's artistic and professional development skills grown in the time I've been working with him, but his confidence and verbal communication skills enable him to interact more in the community.  

I believe ArtISability is part of a new way people with disabilities and their families will be supported under the National Disability Insurance Scheme. People with disabilities and their families have strongly voiced their desire to participate in the life of the community.  Nick is a shining example of what an individual can achieve by making their own choices and be given the right support.

We are currently exploring what ArtISability may look like under the NDIS.  If you are interested in exploring and developing your artistic goals like Nick contact us.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Road To The NDIS

Buying A Backstage Pass 

The common misconception is the National Disability Insurance Scheme, also known as the NDIS, is solely about better support provisions, being delivered to people living with disabilities. Yes this is one of the goals however, the ultimate goal is to address the rights of people living with disabilities.

Eligibility for the ArtISability Foundation program uses the social model of disability.  Disability is simply the impairment of normal human function. So under the social model of disability, illiteracy is considered a disability, we also want to support people with mental illness. While these people will not be eligible for support under the National Disability Agency, ArtISablity recognizes that these artists can become socially isolated and need support to build their art practices.

Artisability remains committed to addressing the access barriers the people with disabilities and mental illness encounter. The NDIS actually seeks to address more than physical, emotional, social and behavioural needs to the estimated  90 000 Queenslanders living with permanent disability. Rather it hopes by addressing these support needs people living with disabilities and their families will be able to fully engaged in the life of the community in which they live. 

Until the implementation of the NDIS in Ipswich and surrounding areas in which ArtISability offers its professional development programs, we acknowledge we have a dual role. The goal of community participation can not be achieved solely by supporting people living with disabilities and their families. We also have a role in preparing our community for the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, through challenging the attitudinal barriers that prevent full community participation. Legislation can not change internal beliefs. 

We believe the best way to challenge these is through the demonstration of ability and education.  I believe the commencement of the NDIS will see a change in our role at ArtISability. We will cease to have to provide support for artist and focus on their professional development needs. However our artists living with disabilities will always need advocacy.

 We seek to encourage our artists to take control of their own direction, Above our artists are being supported to fund raise to enable them to continue to achieve their individual goals in 2015.

  1. James is still very much in the establishment stage of his art development, but is keen to share his experiences with future participants in the program.
  2. Nick has a diverse creative talents, and has achieved a number of art sales during 2014 and we are exploring other avenues for the sales of Nick's artwork in 2015.
  3. Both James and Nick were awarded first prize in the Ipswich Show Societies Annual competition this year. 
  4. Russell is a more established artists and attends CPL's Art Studio at Springfield. Russell will soon begin planning for his solo exhibition. 

Russel Preparing For Exhibition

It is vital we share a role in promoting Community Disability Awareness in the region. Essential to this role is the Ipswich Disability Interagencey Group and our partners Disability Community Awareness. Peter and Linda Tully are national trained leaders to work with organizations; community groups, careers and people with disabilities to make necessary preparation for the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. 

My direct role is assisting the Ipswich Arts Community to begin dialogue in addressing the access issues my artists face in establishing their carers. 

These access issues involve: 
  • Access to Transport
  • Access to Information
  • Access to Communication
  • Access to skills development
  • Access to arts funding
  • Access to buildings
For the artists I support just a simple task of booking a taxi to attend ArtISability creates a barrier and can lead to their isolation and yet their artwork shines by its self. 

Sunflower by Russel Algeo

We are not seeking charity rather practical support to address access issues.  An example of this is Community Transport Services in Ipswich are ready to assist, we need to subsidise costs and assist with bookings on our artists behalf. Or arrange for information to be presented in accessible ways to enable them to make informed decisions. (If you would like to help fund this activity you can purchase a calender featuring the work of our artists.)

We do not provide art activities or art classes for RAW beginners, although we are happy to make referral.  We require our artists to be connected with the community either through entering work in art competitions, exhibitions, sales of art work or attend mainstream training at professional level.  Artist not working towards these goals are asked to exit the program. 

Form time to time we run community workshops, however these are designed to help artist to understand ArtISability. In traveling the road to the NDIS we all need to begin preparations.  If you are an artist or arts organisation looking for this type of assistance give us a call. 

A Special Thanks to



Friday, December 12, 2014

From the Mangers Desk

Season's Greetings

Professional Development Program
for visual artists living
with disability including
mental illness
PO Box 483
Ipswich Qld 4305

Telephone (07) 3281 3218

Time for Celebrations
We have turned 1!

And what year it has been . . .

Six artists successful completed
our March Pilot Program.

We offered workshops in
Abstract Art
and Painting

Hosted our first art exhibition

"Once my artwork is hanging on the Art
Gallery wall my disability becomes invisible" ~ Judith Baker

Hosted a number of community workshops

Worked with others
to present our program
and raise community awareness

And . . .

We're keen to do it all again.

But we need your help

Step One:

Keep our current artists

on the move!

Through promoting and purchasing 

a 2015 Calender for $25 

Step Two:

Consider becoming community partners
with us to host a foundation program in 2015.

Step Three:

Promote community awareness
on the talents and abilities of
those living with disabilities
and mental illness.

Step Four:

Partner with us to present
Disability Community Awareness
to the Ipswich Arts Community

Steps Six:

Join our ArtISability Community through teaching or becoming a volunteer support worker. 

Step Seven:

Host a fundraiser on 
our behalf to enable 
us to run a program in 2015.

If you can help in one or more
of our seven step plan

phone us on

(07) 3281 3218

Thank you to everyone who has
supported us in 2014

ALARA Queensland
Staffing Options
Ipswich Pottery Supplies
Ipswich City Council
Department of Communities
Australian Distribution Services
Community Artists
Access Arts Inc
The Ipswich Community
Shayne Newman MP for Blair
Arts Queensland
We Connect Now
Ipswich Interagencey Group
Disability Community Awareness
Peter and Linda Tully

May you have a safe holiday period
 Debbie Chilton
ArtISability Manager  

Friday, December 5, 2014

What Do We Offer?

We are a professional development program for emerging artists living with disability and metal health issues. 

We currently offer 2 artistic programs.

1. Foundation Stones Program - which introduces artists to ArtISability and provides a supported learning environment to nurture the skills needed to establish an artistic practice.

2. Stepping Stones Program - Currently this is only available to those who have completed the Foundation Stones Program. In this program artists are assisted to connect to their local arts community. We currently provide:- learning support; transport assistance; access to information and guidance.

Community Disability Awareness Training - to assist the Ipswich Community to engage with our artists. The introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme will provide support for people with disabilities and their families to fully participate in the life of their community. From July 2016 we will phase out providing support workers and transport assistance as these will be provided by the NDIS so we can the focus on skills development. Until then our role is to prepare the community for the engagement of people with disabilities.

We were hoping to offer Disability Awareness Training in December however our speaker had to cancel due to illness.  We are planning two sessions in early February.

Introduction to ArtISability Workshops:  These will enable beginning and emerging artists to experiences a sample workshop, to help them make decisions around the suitability of our program for themselves.  These will run similar to the workshops we ran during disability action week 2014. 

Our Road Trip To Toowoomba!

Thanks to 
Disability Community Awareness 

We were able to showcase some
of the professional artistic skill
development workshops we hope
to offer our artists in 2015.

At the Community Connects Day

Presented by 

Toowoomba Advocacy Service Center

On the 3rd December 2014

To celebrate

The day was well attended

by the Toowoomba and 

Surrounding communities.

Thank you for having us as
part of a very successful event.

We would love to come and
introduce the ArtISability Program
and the Professional Development Skills
we have to offer artists living with
disability and mental illness 
to other communities.

If booking workshop please 
ensure you can provide a
conducive learning environment.

For all enquirers phone

(07) 3281 3218 

Building a accessible community for ArtISability artists

ArtISability is committed to supporting 
the artists who were involved in our 
2014  pilot program to access the local 
Ipswich Arts Community.

Together with our partners

Ipswich Regional Bendigo Bank Branches
Ipswich City Council
Disability Community Awareness

Shayne Newmann has launched
our 2015 Calender Fundraiser.

Calenders are now on Sale

For $25 each or 5 for $100

This includes postage anywhere 

within Australia. 

100% of all sales go directly to

Stepping Stones ArtISability Artists

Transport Subsidy Fund

All our artists can now apply for

Assistance by emailing Debbie

for an application form.

We look forward to watching you

achieve your goals in 2015.

Sunflower by Redbank Plains Artists
Russell Algeo