February 27, 2009
UNC Asheville's Center for Diversity Education has been joined by a number of community groups to bring the nationally touring photography exhibition "Road to Freedom: Portraits of People with Disabilities" to Asheville. The exhibit of photos and text panels features children, teens and adults with the full spectrum of physical, sensory, learning and mental disabilities. It is on loan from the Family Diversity Project, a non-profit organization based in Amherst, Mass. "Road to Freedom" will be on view March 15-April 17 in UNC Asheville's Karpen Hall Lobby.
A companion exhibit, "Potential Unlimited = (dis)ABILITY," created by UNC Asheville students and the Center for Diversity Education, will also be on view March 15-April 17 in UNC Asheville's Karpen Hall Lobby. This exhibit features photos and interviews with 12 local citizens whose lives have been affected by disability in some way, including personal, family and professional experiences.
An opening event will be held 3-5 p.m. Sunday, March 15, in UNC Asheville's Karpen Hall Lobby. In addition to the unveiling of the exhibitions, a number of other events will be featured at the reception. The North Carolina Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind and the Assistance Technology Resource Center of WNC will demonstrate adaptive equipment. Local artists Mamma Ruth and David Krafcik will display their work. At 4 p.m. members of the Family Support Network will perform a short play entitled "Get It, Got It, Good" followed by a brief violin concert by Ben Mason, a Hendersonville musician with Asperger's Syndrome. The exhibitions and opening reception are free and open to the public. They are designed for audiences of all ages:
In addition to the two exhibits, a number of free lectures have been planned, including:
-- UNC Asheville Sociology Professor Heidi Kelley will lead a panel discussion on the field of disabilities studies at 12:20 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, in UNC Asheville's Highsmith University Union, room 221. Kelley holds a doctorate in anthropology and has been a member of the UNC Asheville faculty since 1990. In 1998, she suffered a massive stroke. She has since returned to teaching full-time and is a frequent speaker on disability studies and disability rights.
-- Bart Floyd, site coordinator for the Western Alliance Center for Independent Living, will discuss the history and philosophy of disabilities and independent living at 12:20 p.m. Thursday, March 19, in UNC Asheville's Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall.
-- Monika McJannet-Werner will give a talk on "Awareness and Access for People Who Are Blind" at 12:20 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, in UNC Asheville's Highsmith University Union, room 221. McJannet-Werner is the southeastern regional representative of the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults.
-- Jean Alvarez, parent trainer for the Autism Society of North Carolina will guide a discussion on the complexity of autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder at 12:20 p.m. Thursday, March 26, in UNC Asheville's Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall. Alvarez, a former special education teacher, is the mother of an adult son with autism.
-- Local residents who have experienced brain injuries will share their stories at 12:20 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, in UNC Asheville's Highsmith University Union, room 221. Karen Harrington, community outreach coordinator of the Brain Injury Association of North Carolina, will serve as moderator. Some three years ago Harrington's son was in a severe car accident that left him with a traumatic brain injury. To help herself and other families cope with the aftermath of brain injuries, Harrington started a support group and is now a sought-after speaker and advocate.
-- Architect Sean Vance, director of North Carolina State University's Center for Universal Design, will discuss the history and developments in the field of universal design at 12:20 p.m. Thursday, April 2, in UNC Asheville's Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall. Vance will speak again on the same topic at 6 p.m. in Laurel Forum.
-- A panel discussion hosted by the Family Support Network of Western North Carolina will address the family's role in supporting a person with a disability at 12:20 p.m. Thursday, April 9, in UNC Asheville's Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall. The Family Support Network provides families faced with special health care, behavioral or physical needs with emotional support and information from other families with similar life experiences.
-- Cory Parker of the North Carolina Division for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will give a talk on "Best Practices for the Inclusive Classroom" at 12:20 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, at UNC Asheville's Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall. Parker, who is deaf, holds a bachelor's degree in communicative disorders with an emphasis in deafness rehabilitation. He recently taught American Sign Language classes for UNC Asheville faculty and staff.
-- Anne Fox, associate professor of English at Davidson College, will explain how people with disabilities have been portrayed in performance media – from film to theatre – at 12:20 p.m. Thursday, April 16, at UNC Asheville's Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall. She will also discuss the current state of disability theater arts.
Interpretive services are available for all events with a seven day notification to the Center for Diversity Education. Certificates for continuing education credit will be distributed at each event.
The exhibitions are sponsored by Bi-Lo Charities, Janirve Foundation, CarePartners, Mission Healthcare, Bank of America and Chitwood and Fairbairn PA. Organizing partners include Care Partners, Children's Developmental Services Agency, Family Support Network, Irene Wortham Center, Mission Children's Hospital, City of Asheville Parks and Recreation, Western Alliance Center for Independent Living, UNC Asheville's Disability Services and UNC Asheville's Equal Access student organization.
For more information, call UNC Asheville's Center for Diversity Education at 828.232.5024.