From Poetry to Photography Iowans With Disabilities Show Creative Side / Public News Service

“Worlds Imagined” is the theme of this year’s campaign for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month – which is March. Iowans with disabilities and their advocates hope the public pays more attention to their creative work.

The campaign is about promoting the everyday contributions of those with disabilities, they say, and how communities can be inclusive in helping them achieve goals. Des Moines author Diane Glass, who was born with spina bifida, said she hopes her latest collection of poetry resonates on two key fronts.

“I think that this creative approach can hopefully give people with disabilities some differing perspective on their situation,” said Glass, “and can help the larger public understand that people with disabilities are a wonderful resource.”

Over the past decade, arts organizations and agencies have acknowledged those with disabilities are underrepresented in the performing and visual arts. That includes participation, employment and even attendance at performances.

As part of the campaign, the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council is accepting submissions of creative work and testimonials this month to share with the public.

Adam Reynolds, a Des Moines resident who has cerebral palsy, described photography as his passion. Through social media, he shares a range of photos, with the downtown area serving as his favorite location.

“I do daytime and nighttime shots of the capitol and of just, you know, numerous buildings,” said Reynolds.

He said he hopes that one day he can expand his audience through other avenues. Reynolds said his ultimate goal is to secure enough funding to open his own gallery.

But to get there, he said he feels there needs to be more support from influential voices on the arts scene, and the community in general, to help him realize his dreams.

Disclosure: Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council contributes to our fund for reporting on Disabilities, Early Childhood Education, Health Issues, Mental Health. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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Kenneth Proto

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