Disability, Acceptance + Art

 In Advocacy, artists, artists with disabilities, Blog, Careers in the Arts, Developmental Disabilities, IDD, Services for People With Disabilities, Special Needs, Workforce Development

This Winter, Allison Norlian, a three-time Emmy-nominated journalist, filmed a short documentary about the artists in Tierra del Sol’s Careers in the Arts program. As co-founder of BirdMine, a production company focused on amplifying the voices and stories of people who are often marginalized in society, who has a sister with a severe disability, this film was near and dear to her heart.


1. How did you discover Tierra del Sol?“I am on the board of Sage Studio, a progressive art studio and gallery based in Austin, TX. Since I live in Los Angeles, and wanted to learn more about similar nonprofits in my area, I reached out to Sage’s co-founders, Lucy Gross and Katie Stahl, who told me about Tierra’s progressive art studios. Once I visited, I was blown away and quickly knew I wanted to tell Tierra’s story.” 

2. What was it like creating Disability, Acceptance + Art and meeting/working with Tierra’s artists? 

“It was a true joy to meet the artists of Tierra del Sol! I spent two days at Tierra’s Upland and Sunland studios, interviewing, filming, and getting to know the artists and wonderful staff. A few weeks later, I filmed at the Chinatown gallery space for Tierra’s 10 x 10: 100 Artists of Tierra del Sol! After filming, I spent weeks transcribing the interviews and putting the piece together.

During my time with Tierra, I was struck by the talent of the artists who create with the nonprofit. From painting to textiles, Tierra’s artists are producing works of exceptional art. And interviewing a few of the artists showed me how their work comes from a deeply emotional place. These artists have taken their experiences in the world, their feelings, emotions, and struggles, and created beauty from, in many cases, deep hurt and pain.

I am just in awe of the artists at Tierra del Sol and the people who work there and dedicate their lives to equality and inclusion for people with disabilities. I’m honored and thankful I got to tell their story.” 

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