University of Delaware
UD's Center for Disabilities Studies will host Artfest on Saturday, Oct. 25, in Newport.

Art for everyone's sake

Center for Disabilities Studies to host Artfest Oct. 25 in Newport


2:55 p.m., Oct. 2, 2014--Steve Slotkin says he hopes to shine again at Artfest, the annual community celebration and workshop that encourages people with disabilities to express themselves creatively.

“I wish we could do it more often,” he says of the University of Delaware Center for Disabilities Studies-sponsored event, in part because Artfest also helps boost his confidence. “After finishing a piece of art, I am always surprised because I don’t think of myself as an artist but every year I make something great.” 

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Others will get the chance to do the same Saturday, Oct. 25, at the New Castle County Absalom Jones Community Center, the Artfest location this year and for several years running.

Admission is free, and people with disabilities from throughout Delaware are invited to attend, along with family members and friends, space permitting. 

Volunteers from the University of Delaware will be on hand, eager to help Artfest participants tap and develop their “inner artist.”

Art Therapy Express of Newport, Delaware, has partnered with CDS at Artfest for more than five years, making certain that each project offered is accessible to all participants. 

Adaptive art tools, including holding devices, arm skates, splints and wheelchair rollers, help make that possible, says Lisa Bartoli, director and lead artist at Art Therapy Express. “I love witnessing the pride in the creative experience and the joy of the interaction between our participants and our volunteers,” she says.

They will engage in some new projects at this year’s Artfest. “They’ll be tossing different textured objects soaked in paint at canvases, and decorating painters’ caps and tote bags to take home as souvenirs,” says Audrey Rossi, a CDS graduate assistant helping plan the event. 

They will also join together to take part in projects that drew raves at previous Artfest events, such as the production of a giant communal floor mural.

“I love the vibrant paintings,” says Bartoli. No wonder Artfest has “blossom[ed] into a yearly event that everyone eagerly awaits in the fall.”

Those who are interested can register here as an Artfest participant, or register here as an Artfest volunteer. They can also call Audrey Rossi at 302-831-3632 with questions or for help registering for the event. The deadline to enroll is Oct. 17.

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