This project started when I became curious as to why there seemed to be no clear understanding of disability in the fine arts while there seemed to be no lack of disability in actual art works.
First, in 2010, I put out a call to artists and writers. In 2011, with the support of many volunteers and the OWCA, we put on an art show. At that exhibition there was work by people with and without disabilities. There were also readings and performances.
Two years later I posted the seeds, on this blog, for a book. It was a long manuscript in its entirety. I chose not to post the ready for print PDF version which was designed universally to be accessible to the most people possible. It was incomplete without an audio book or proper coding on images for screen readers to read. At that time, I thought the printed book would have a audio CD in it, but now I am considering other options.
Today I am happy to say that I have refocused on writing the book. I will be editing it into a book that is one-fourth the length. Sadly, most of the featured artists and writers from the show A Somewhat Secret Place will be cut and in their place I shall explain a framework for how we can think of disability in all areas of art. That is everything from how we respond to art that contains the sensation of disability (lived, seen and felt) to how we talk about an artist with a disability whose work does not have anything to do with their disability. I have done this in what I have written so far but I know I can push it.
I would love to have more funding to be able to sit and work on it 24/7. However, I do not think that will happen anytime soon. So it may be a while before I post a finished work for download. I am thinking around this time next year.
Also, I am back in my studio and thinking once again about painting. But my work with this topic and project is not over. TEDx Concordia University Portland has asked me to be one of their 2014 speakers. I have said yes. I cannot tell you too much now, but the talk will have something to do with the appendix of the book.
Speaking of the appendix, in the summer of this last year I was able to speak with Mr. Oliver when he visited Portland, so now I have a few things to add to the appendix. The story has continued. The spoiler is that there is a very happy ending.
I plan on redoing some of this website to make it clearer what the show was and who supported it. I will be taking down a few pages that I no longer need. I think that many people wish that this was an ongoing project and many are sometimes confused by page content and layouts. If you like to work on websites and want to help, feel free to contact me through this blog.
Thank you to all of my loyal subscribers and followers on facebook and twitter for continuing to support me in this project. It has been nearly 4 years now. It has been fun. That is so only because of all of the people who have been there supporting me through each stage. Thank you.
Catherine J. H. Miller