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New Brunswick's Disability Arts Collective to hold first gallery showing

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New Brunswick's Disability Arts Collective is about to hold their first gallery showing.

The collective was formed in 2021 by Ysabelle Vautour, a visually impaired artist who wanted to create a space and resources for other artists with disabilities in the province.

For Vautour, it's about highlighting ability.

"I think it’s important because there is very limited amount of shows that portray persons with disabilities in a positive or even an accurate way,” Vautour said.

The showcase is also an opportunity for the gallery space to be inclusive and accessible.

"One of the ways we can do that is, I'm going to be hanging the work lower so it's like wheelchair level, which is kind of like ‘Oh, why is the art hung that way’ and then we can talk about that,” she said.

In the future, Vautour would like to include audio-visual descriptions of pieces and hopes incorporating accessibility will become commonplace practice in galleries.

The showcase will feature five artists with disabilities from around the province, in a variety of mediums.

"I do ink and wash with water colours and ink, and I get on google maps and I go around the world and I find places that inspire me because I'm blind, in my eye with glaucoma a lot of these places I don't think I'm ever going to see not in my time,” said artist Ryan Annett.

The first showcase for the collective will be presented at the Fredericton Playhouse from Jan. 11 to Feb. 28.

"I've been painting for almost five years I guess. It's funny because before I had my stroke I wasn't getting out, I wasn't going anywhere, but I feel like with this group I have a voice now and I can be a part of it,” said artist Cassandra Mazariegos.

Vautour created the collective to bring artists with disabilities together and to diversify the artistic community.

"Disability is diverse. It comes in different types, different stages, it can start later in life versus being born with it, visible not visible, severity, there's all these things that come into play,” Vautour said.

“I can't speak to it as one person, so having a collective is important in the sense that you can see that diversity it's not just one opinion,” she said.

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