The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA), the Fed Galleries at KCAD, and the Grand Rapids Art Museum will display the work of 26 U.S. and international artists in Art of the Lived Experiment, a contemporary Disability Art exhibition on view April 10 – July 31, 2015.

The centerpiece of the DisArt Festival, Art of the Lived Experiment was recently seen as a part of DaDaFest at the Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool, England, and will be making its U.S. premiere in Grand Rapids. Art of the Lived Experiment will feature the work of more than 19 internationally renowned disability artists, including sculptor Tony Heaton and performance artist Simon Raven. In addition to these works, seven additional North American pieces have been curated for the U.S. show, including those by mixed-media artist Jeremy Burleson and performance artist Raphaëlle de Groot. The exhibition was co-curated by Aaron Wiliamson, of the U.K., and Amanda Cachia, of the U.S.

Art of the Lived Experiment addresses the notion that nothing in life or in art can be permanent, that both are subject to a flux and transformation. Aaron Williamson explains, “All that is certain is continual change. Experiment is necessary in order to process, alter, combine and transform our conditioning.“

Art of the Lived Experiment includes a range of mediums including sculpture, painting, performance art, video, photography, ceramics, drawing, and more. Artists included in the exhibition work individually but share a common theme: They are living with a disability, creating work about disability, or have experienced a disability in some capacity. The exhibition celebrates this fusion of disability and art.

“Art of the Lived Experiment marks the first time that the influential and cutting-edge work of DaDaFest in Liverpool has made it over to the United States.” Notes Chris Smit, Director of DisArt Festival. “For over 30 years, they [DaDaFest] have been at the forefront of Disability Arts, and it is truly amazing to be able to work with them so closely. The art included in the exhibit is the best contemporary Disability Art available in the world. Consequently, visitors to this exhibition will be challenged and inspired by these profound examples of disability and creativity. As the heartbeat of DisArt Festival 2015, Art of the Lived Experiment will be a historic event for this town.”

The city of Grand Rapids, home to pioneer events such as ArtPrize and Laughfest, will once again be a model for community engagement and inclusivity. DisArt Festival and Art of the Lived Experiment are groundbreaking additions to a legacy of arts and access.

The DisArt Festival and Art of the Lived Experiment are supported in part by:

The National Endowment for the Arts
The Wege Foundation
Ferris State University
Universal Mind
The Grand Rapids Community Foundation
Disability Advocates of Kent County
Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan
Reagan Marketing + Design
The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation

Exhibits will be at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, 2 Fulton West, Grand Rapids MI 49503; Fed Galleries at Kendall College of Art and Design, 17 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503; the Grand Rapids Art Museum, 101 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

The exhibition will run April 10 – July 31 2015 with the events free during DisArt Festival, April 10-25 2015. Regular daily admission fees apply at UICA and GRAM from April 26 – July 31 2015.