Disabled Students’ Program’s 2nd art showcase honors ‘joy’ of community

Aura Barrera/Staff

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The UC Berkeley Disabled Students’ Program, or DSP, held its second art showcase Thursday as the culmination of Disability Awareness Month celebrations throughout November.

More than 20 participating students and staff members displayed art pieces ranging from paintings, prints and pottery to sculptures and poetry. Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. the Multicultural Community Center, or MCC, opened its doors to the UC Berkeley community, inviting them to join the event with food, community and art inside.

“For me, it’s important to always celebrate our students,” said disability specialist Stephanie Flores at the event. “It’s good to have one day where our entire community has the opportunity to celebrate our students with us.”

A member of the Disability Awareness Month committee, Flores was in charge of leading the events for November’s activities that celebrated the DSP community on campus. Flores added that apart from celebrating, events such as the showcase help people in the community mingle and socialize with one another.

According to Flores, the success of 2018’s showcase prompted the committee to host it again this year, and she added that the showcase could potentially be an annual event.

“We really appreciate all the artists that contributed their pieces (to the showcase),” said DSP learning specialist Heather Yaden at the event. “A lot of them shared a lot of personal experiences, and I feel really grateful that people were brave to show their art.”

Yaden added that the showcase commemorated the “joy and creativity” of the disabled community on campus. According to Yaden, the event worked to “show” the UC Berkeley community that the DSP community “exists” by inviting members of the community to see the artwork created by DSP students in one of the few public events they hold.

Later in the showcase, campus junior Delaney Marchant sang her original song “Make the Moon Stop Spinning,” which speaks about her struggle with ulcerative colitis and the “exhaustion” and inescapability of very demanding disabilities.

“A lot of the times when you’re young you’re told that you can overcome obstacles,” Marchant said after her performance. “As you get older, and with chronic illness, these obstacles are permanent; you just get better at handling them.”

Campus junior Josephine Koe also performed at the showcase, dancing with the song “Live Like Legends” by Ruelle. When she was younger, Koe took dance classes but had trouble feeling like she fit in.

While she stopped dancing in a group setting, Koe said dancing became more about identity and self-reliance. Koe added that events such as the showcase create a space for the disability community to be together.

“Having a physical disability, I don’t dance the way everyone else does, but that’s what’s so beautiful about dance — there’s not just one way to do it,” Koe said.

Clara Rodas is the lead race and diversity reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ClaraRodas10.