Festival at SADI offers art and independence

Sunday, June 21, 2009
Keller Breuer, 3, of Jackson paints red hearts with an art roller Saturday on the parking lot of SEMO Alliance for Disability Independence during the Arts for All Festival. (Fred Lynch)

The parking lot at SEMO Alliance for Disability Independence in Cape Girardeau was converted into an open-air arts studio Saturday as children and parents played with paint, chalk and bubbles at the Arts for All Festival.

Along with pony rides, face painting and other arts activities, the festival featured specialized tools that enable people with limited mobility to create art. Participants used wheelchair attachments that rolled out paint, glided chalk across the ground or conducted the wand of a bubble blower.

Dwayne Szot, founder of Zot Artz studio in Bayfield, Wis., created the tools and helped participants in the festival use them. Szot has been designing art tools for more than 20 years.

Szot's experience of growing up in a foster home with people of all abilities influenced his career path. He remembers taking his foster sister to the school bus in a wagon because she could not reach it fast enough on her crutches. Szot said it is important for everyone to be able to express themselves creatively and independently.

"It's a connection that makes us feel like we're a part of things, a wholeness in a way," he said.

Sarah McDowell, director of independent living for SADI, said about 25 children and their families attended the Arts for All Festival, which was held separately from ArtsCape for the first time this year. She said her goal for the festival was "to make people aware that all kids with all abilities can come out and do art and express themselves."

SADI now has some of Szot's tools in their lending library, and they will be available for members of the community to check out. Szot said this is a way to create an inclusive community.

DJ Kennard brought his two daughters from Sikeston to the Arts for All Festival after seeing a TV promotion for the event.

"The bubble wheel is what really got the little one's attention," Kennard said with a laugh.

Although his daughters do not have disabilities, Kennard has two relatives with cerebral palsy.

"They've never had an opportunity for anything like this," Kennard said. "It's really neat."

For more information about SADI, call 651-6464. For more about Zot Artz and its programs, go to www.zotartz.com.



Pertinent address:

1913 Rusmar St., Cape Girardeau, MO

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