In May of this year, Chicago will host the 11-day Bodies of Work Festival. Featuring visual and performing arts that highlight the work of artists with disabilities, the festival celebrates national and international artists with disabilities who are creating cutting-edge theater, dance, literature, poetry, spoken word, film, and visual/performance art. Some of Chicago's most recognized cultural institutions will host events, and the festival includes free public panels and talks in conjunction with many of the performances.
From the news release issued by Bodies of Work to announce the festival, Bodies of Work “perceives disability art as playing a key role in articulating what disability means personally, politically, and aesthetically . . . The movement is intimately tied to and has grown up alongside the disability civil rights movement, and the urgency and vibrancy shared by both are present in the beautiful and challenging work showcased in this festival.” Ten cultural institutions and community groups, including Access Living, are participating in the Bodies of Work Festival. All venues are wheelchair-accessible and have accessible restrooms. Many performances include audio description, word-for-word captioning, and/or sign-language interpretation.
Dance Performances at Access Living
During the festival, on May 17 and 18, Access Living will host two performances of Counterbalance integrated dance, poetry and spoken word that explores the intersection of disability, diversity and art. The performance includes performers with and without disabilities. On May 18, in conjunction with the performances, Access Living will host a workshop in creative movement is held on Saturday, from May 1-3 pm.
Also on May 18, at Woman Made Gallery, Access Living’s own Susan Nussbaum will read from and sign her first novel, Good Kings, Bad Kings, for which she received the 2012 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.
Generous support for the 2013 Bodies of Work Festival is provided in part by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of People with Disabilities, Disability Resource Center and the Department of Disability and Human Development; Toby Tate; City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities; Illinois Humanities Council; and Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.