The Artists Archives of the Western Reserve is thrilled to announce that they have received the Ohio Museum Association’s 2022 Best Exhibition & Best Community Partnership Awards for Institutions with Budgets Under $500,000 for their exhibition W/O Limits: Art, Chronic Illness, and Disability.
Held from September 22 – November 12, 2022, W/O Limits showcased the evocative work of Ohio artists experiencing disability and/or chronic illness, all of whom identify as Women, BIPOC, or LGBTQ+, a testament to the diverse populations impacted by these conditions. Curated by Megan Alves and Mindy Tousley, the exhibition was a rallying cry for greater inclusion within museum spaces and emphasized audience accessibility by including braille text, a wheelchair focused layout, and touchable sculptures for those with sensory sensitivities and visual impairments. A robust schedule of accompanying tours and programming provided inclusive opportunities to participate in the creative community and inspired the next generation of artists of all abilities.
W/O Limits provided artists experiencing disabilities crucial professional development through feature roles in programming, inclusion in a catalog, art sales, stipends, and the planned addition of work to the museum’s permanent collection. The show set an institutional record for press recognition and raised critical awareness for increased inclusion in museum spaces and society at large. Important arts organizers from moCa Cleveland, the Riffe Gallery and Front International visited with the goal of improving accessibility, and the show was used as a teaching tool by area colleges. Programming included an Accessibility in the Arts panel discussion, two Disability Friendly Puppet Making Workshops, and tours from The Cleveland Sight Center, as well as multiple special needs classes from under-resourced neighborhoods in the Cleveland Municipal School District.
A full press release can be found on the Ohio Museum Association website. Thank you to the Ohio Museum Association for their recognition and to all who contributed to this powerful exhibition. We look forward to carrying the exhibition’s mission of advocacy and inclusion into the future!