The five individuals featured in the public service announcements below were interviewed at their offices or homes. Some are artists themselves, and some enjoy the arts as patrons. Regardless, the arts are important in their lives.
Jeremy Libby wanted to become an artist, but he was injured in an accident and lost the use of his legs and has only partial use of his hands. Libby works for Alpha One in Bangor as an Independent Living Specialist. He says it would be hard to identify a form of art he doesn’t like. He loves the impressionists, contemporary pop art, media art and digital art. One of his favorite artistic experiences is seeing a large mural on display at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts that depicted a caravan seamlessly traveling though varying climates and topographies. Twenty years after the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act, he says there’s still an enormous amount of work to be done, but we’re erasing boundaries between cultures, and shared artistic expression is key to that process. Listen to PSA | Read transcript
Beth Mogan is an Independent Living Specialist at Alpha One in South Portland. Because she was born with muscular dystrophy, she uses a power wheelchair to move around. She likes to go to concerts and plays to enjoy a sense of community. She says she was fifteen or sixteen when she went to her first concert and loved it. Concerts are what energizes her, and “you can’t put a price tag on that.” She urges more accessibility, and would like to get to a place where we are interested in and enjoy each other’s differences. There’s still a lot to be done, she says, but there’s been progress. Listen to PSA | Read transcript
Mike Rogers is a musician who plays guitar and harmonica with the Salt River Trio. He spent much of his professional life as a teacher, teaching remedial reading, but lost his sight to retinitis pigmentosa. His life has taken him to both Georgia and the Bahamas, where he started a harmonica band. Rogers says changing people’s attitudes always takes time, but he’s seen some of those changes take place, including more sensitivity to people with disabilities. One change he’s waiting for is greater use of audio description techniques for the blind. Listen to PSA | Read transcript
Brad Strause is a songwriter and musician who leads a band, “Strause & Company.” He also works as an Independent Living Specialist for Alpha One in South Portland. After losing his sight at age 40, he wanted something to keep him connected to the world, so he picked up his guitar and started playing. One of his biggest kicks is hearing one of his songs performed. He says arts venues need to understand that persons with disabilities are looking for someplace to go, and if you’re the one that is accessible, you have an advantage, because it’s a significant, untapped market. Listen to PSA | Read transcript
Sara Squires is an Intake Coordinator at the Disability Rights Center of Maine. As a little person she uses a power scooter to move about. Having a disability is part of who she is, but it doesn’t define who she is. Her life is no different from her brother who is six-foot-four. She loves music, cinema, and concerts. One of the most common barriers she encounters is sidewalks that are difficult to navigate with the scooter. Her advice to arts presenters and arts venues is, it’s bad business to exclude. Listen to PSA | Read transcript For more information, Contact: Kathy Shaw at 207/287-2750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.