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Crip News v.43


Disability Futures Fellows

The partnership between United States Artists and the Ford and Mellon Foundations has named 20 new fellows who will receive an unrestricted award of $50,000. The fellows are: Alexandria Wailes, Alison O’Daniel, Antoine Hunter, Purple Fire Crow, Camisha L. Jones, Corbett Joan O’Toole, Dickie Hearts, JJJJJerome Ellis, Reverend Joyce McDonald, Kenny Fries, Khadijah Queen, M.Eifler, Naomi Ortiz, Nasreen Alkhateeb, NEVE, QuestionATL, Sandie (Chun-sha) Yi, Sandy Ho, Tee Franklin, Wendy Lu, and Yo-Yo Lin.

Joni Mitchell at Newport Folk Festival

The legendary singer’s surprise performance is making the rounds. There are levels to the way disability appears here. Mitchell contracted polio when she was 9, which influenced her distinctive guitar technique. She became disabled again in 2015 after a brain aneurysm. Teaching herself to play guitar again in the last few years, she watched videos of herself as a younger artist. A disabled artist relying on an intrinsic ancestor of a differently disabled artist-self. It’s remarkable. We can celebrate this performance without the pathos about overcoming that the performance drew out among ableds.

But there’s so much more! One of the songs Mitchell performed was “Summertime,” whose lyrics were written by the disabled artist Dubose Heyward. These lyrics came from a mosaic of disability representations in Dubose’s co-authored play Porgy (1925), which preceded the Gerschwin musical adaptation where “Summertime” emerged. Disability scholar and icon Dr. Sue Schweik unpacks the way Dubose recasts his white disability experience and appropriation of the experience of a real-life man named Samuel Smalls into those of his Black disabled character. Oh, how much detail about white supremacy and disabled masculinity get missed when ideologies of ability crowd things out!

And then I think of Wynonna Judd in the background of the video, blotting the tears in her eyes. Did the lullaby in the song draw her into grief of her mother’s suicide in April, a day before the duo was to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame? Aren’t disability aesthetics so much more ordinary, subtle, and ubiquitous than the effects of their more legibly political heft?

A special thanks to the always-rad comments on Sue Schweik’s Facebook page, where I learned much of this.

New Works

The inside of a virtual world designed by Yo-Yo Lin shows avatars on a dance floor.
The GlitchRealm, designed by Yo-Yo Lin.

A post shared by Shannon Finnegan (@shanfinnegan)

In Other News…

  • “I am a woman sitting at the table wearing a blue suit.” U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris offered a visual description at the top of her remarks during a roundtable with disability activists on the anniversary of the ADA last week. The responses have been profoundly ableist, so I won’t link to a single one.

  • The $369 billion U.S. federal climate and tax deal hatched entirely in secrecy with Sen. Joe Manchin will lower the cost of prescription medicines and extend health subsidies. Its passage is still not a sure bet.

A post shared by The Intercept (@theintercept)


  • Rauschenberg Medical Emergency Grants provide one-time grants of up to $5,000 for recent unexpected medical, dental, and mental health emergencies to artists in financial need. The deadline for the current round is August 2nd. More here.

  • Alexa Dexa’s Bewitch Yourself project is a one-on-one virtual and interactive crip ritual for resourcing ourselves and sharing our resources by co-crafting a songspell that holds space for our infinite possibility. More info and scheduling for a free online session here.

  • Shutterstock is partnering with the Global Alliance for Disability in Media and Entertainment along with the World Institute on Disability to provide $5,000 and $10,000 production grants to artists with disabilities and their allies that will “increase and diversify portrayals of disabilities across a broad range of environments, relationships, and issues in our collection.” Apply by September 5th. More here.

  • The Center for Urban Pedagogy community-engaged design process brings together community organizations working on critical social justice issues and designers interested in learning about community engagement. Together, they create a visual guide that uses accessible language and innovative design to explain a complex policy, law, or system. More here.

  • The Sick and Disabled (SAD) Fair is seeking volunteer organisers. If you think you may be interested, email us at

  • Heidi Latsky Dance is looking for an Executive Director. If you are interested please email for more information.

  • There are several new funding opportunities for Australia-based disabled artists. More here.

  • Museum, Arts, and Culture (MAC) Access Consortium’s Supporting Transitions Project is seeking applications for the second cohort of its paid Self-Advocate Corps, who train disabled self-advocates, specifically those who identify as autistic, neurodivergent, or intellectually disabled, to use their experiences and skills to consult with cultural organizations to increase accessibility and representation. Information session on July 29th 12:45-1:15pm ET on Zoom. You can RSVP for the zoom link for the event by clicking here. A flyer with more information is available by clicking here.


Disabled Artist Support Programs: Budgeting

Kinetic Light is offering events to support disabled artists’ know-how in U.S. arts worlds:

  • Organizational Strategies for Supporting Disabled Artists with Dom Chatterjee. Wednesday, August 3rd, 5:30-7pm ET. Register here.

  • Budgeting Jam Time. Tuesday, August 9th, 3-4pm ET. Register here.


Originally published as Crip News v.43 at Crip News

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