I recently read an article in Dwell Magazine about the Creative Growth Gallery. It is a studio and gallery that works with artists of physical and mental disabilities. Their belief is that "art is a universal means of expression, and one that people with disabilities could use to communicate and contribute to society". They recently held a show in California without any text on the walls next to the artist's works. The reason was because the show was mixed with art done by professionals. Visitors had no idea which work was done by the disabled and which was done by educated artists. The point of the show? Does it matter who made what? Is there a difference?
There is a quote in the article from the director of the gallery that really made me think...she points out that "For any creative person, there are artificial rule about when you can call yourself an artist-the moment you're comfortable identifying yourself as one is a big deal."
Unless you're an artist and you've gone through the feeling she is talking about yourself, you may not understand. Being an artist and feeling this accomplishment myself, I know it is a big deal. Knowing that you can be someone who can bring that feeling to someone who may be too often shun by the world, must be an amazing feeling. I give Jennifer Strate O'Neal a lot of credit for doing what she does and for all the accomplishments that come with it.