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Accessibility in the Arts Virtual Panel Discussion

October 12, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


According to the CDC, an estimated 26% of Americans experience some form of disability, with Women and People of Color being affected at rates much higher than their peers. Inclusion and accessibility are everyone’s responsibility, and the arts community can be the vanguard of social change.


On Wednesday, October 12th, 7:00 – 8:00pm, as part of the W/O Limits: Art, Chronic Illness, and Disability exhibition, the Artists Archives will host a virtual panel discussion with featured artists Kristi Copez, MANDEM, and Andrew Reach. Moderated by curator Megan Alves, the 45-minute discussion will provide unique insight into the artists’ work and candidly explore issues of accessibility and inclusion in Northeast Ohio’s art scene.


As Moco Steinman-Arendsee, a member of the artist conglomerate MANDEM describes, “Cleveland is a mix of both notable opportunities and tremendous barriers to entry for disabled artists. There are accessible studio spaces and residencies available, though a greater number remain inaccessible. Some curators go out of their way to make spaces inclusive… though others will actively discriminate against disabled participants in fear of being asked to do the same.” The virtual panel will both address these challenges as well as consider scalable solutions for creating an arts culture that is welcoming for all.


The Accessibility in the Arts Panel Discussion will conclude with an open audience Q&A period. The accompanying W/O Limits: Art, Chronic Illness, and Disability exhibition will be on view at the Artists Archives until November 12.


Kristi Copez Head Shot

About Panelist/Artist Kristi Copez: Kristi Copez (she/her) is an Advocate-Artist | Ceramist | Chronic-Illness-Warrior | Culinarian | Eclectic | Inspirer | Poetic-Essayist | Space-Holder | Womanist | and some would say Brazen when it comes to her determination. Copez was recognized by The Tyrian Network of Ohio and was awarded “Artist of the Year” (2017-2018). Kristi envisions a non-profit (Arukah Art) that supports living as a person of faith notwithstanding chronic illness(es), especially women who’ve come through trauma. Arukah Art will be a sacred space for creating a sense of spiritual, emotional, & physical resilience and vigorous well-being. She has earned her A.A. in Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution, her B.A. in Studio Art, and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Theology & Pastoral Studies. Of late, Copez has been working powerfully in ceramics as well as the written and/or spoken word.


About Panelist/Artist MANDEM: MANDEM (they/them) is the name shared by an intergenerational artist trio that collectively identifies as nonbinary/genderqueer and as neurodiverse and/or disabled. They are radically interdisciplinary, working across a spectrum of media and materials. MANDEM’s work explores the visceral and disabled body, art history, religious iconography, and issues of gender and desire. Their art is simultaneously disruptive and beautiful, in critical dialogue with art history and mythology. MANDEM has been an artist-in-residence at Il Palmerino (Florence, Italy), The Culture Palette (Hoptacong, NJ), and Negative Space Gallery (Cleveland, OH). They have received grants from the Ohio Arts Council, Dayton Visual Arts Center, and Lippman Kanfer Foundation. Their work has been exhibited in Italy, England, Canada, and the U.S.


About Panelist/Artist Andrew Reach: (Born 1961 Miami Beach) Andrew Reach is an abstract artist working in the realm of digital media. He received a degree in Architecture from Pratt Institute in New York and had a successful 20 year career as an architect, practicing in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami. His last building as project architect with HOK Architects was the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University in Miami. In 2003, a spine disease resulted in a spinal fusion of most of his spine and in the fall of 2004, due to complications, at the commencement of construction of the Frost Art Museum, he would undergo a lifesaving surgery marking an end and a new beginning; reinvention from architect to visual artist. Now he found himself creating art on a computer program as if the works of art had been inside him all along, waiting for the day technology would come around to realize them. His work has been exhibited in the United States in solo and group exhibitions including a solo exhibition at the Frost Art Museum. His work is in private, corporate, and institutional collections, among them the Permanent Collection of the Frost Art Museum, University Hospitals Art Collection, Summa Health Healing Arts Collection and the Cleveland Clinic Art Collection. His work in public art includes a permanent installation at the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland and most recently he was commissioned by the Cleveland Public Library in partnership with Land Studio to create a 10 x 30 foot art wall for one of its branches.


About Moderator/Curator Megan Alves: Megan Alves is a writer, curator, and art historian residing in Cleveland, OH. She currently works as the Marketing and Program Manager for the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve (AAWR), where she is known for creating dynamic programming which amplifies underrepresented voices in the creative community, as well as for her arts writing which has been quoted in among others Cleveland Magazine, The Plain Dealer (cleveland.com), The Buckeye Flame, Cleveland Scene Magazine, and Canvas Magazine. Alves received B.A.’s in Comparative Literature and Art History from Oberlin College and was a Curatorial Intern at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Alves worked as a freelance arts correspondent for Cool Cleveland, a locally minded culture periodical with an emphasis on social justice. Some of her notable programs include: The Legacy of African American Textile Art with Cynthia Lockhart; Through Our Lens: Photography as a Tool of Social Justice; The May Show: The Museum, The Community, & The Story of Art in Cleveland; ART + AIDS: A Virtual Panel Discussion; and CAN X FRONT: Fred Bidwell and Michael Gill. In 2022, Alves conceived and curated the W/O Limits: Art, Chronic Illness, and Disability exhibition as an extension of her own journey living with Scleroderma, a rare and progressive autoimmune disease which impacts the organs and connective tissue.



October 12, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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