Disability Arts Online is raising £10,000 to provide 35 disabled artists with vital paid work through our commissioning programme due to start in June 2021.
Disabled artists face multiple barriers in achieving income from their work. The pandemic and the subsequent lockdown through 2020 and into 2021 will continue to be challenging. Many disabled people are shielding long-term, awaiting the roll-out of the vaccination programme in an environment in which work opportunities remain persistently slim on the ground as the doors of galleries, theatres, arts centres, cinemas and community spaces continue to remain closed.
In March 2020, we were able to draw from our Arts Council NPO funding, responding to the Coronavirus pandemic by providing paid commissions to 30 disabled artists worth a total of £8,000. The commissions ranged from artist talks to panel discussions, podcasts, art films and A Day in the Life of An Artist exposés.
All of these commissions were well-received by the community of disabled artists we support and traffic to our webpages has increased by 50 per cent since the beginning of 2020. A few highlights were the New Women podcast by Louise Page which was profiled on the BBC News. Carrie Ravenscroft created a showcase of lockdown artworks and was further commissioned by the Wellcome Collection following our recommendation. Visually impaired art dealer Jana Manuelpillai provided a valuable resource in what to think about when approaching a commercial gallery and Jon Adams’ Metaordinary – a series of digital transformations of everyday photographs – created the conditions for a wonderful piece of engagement with our audience.
This year, we intend our Covid Commissions to be a bigger and better offer, in terms of sharing our artists’ creative output and supporting opportunities for networking and connection. We want to give our artists an opportunity by commissioning work that is relevant, exciting and entertaining, in the form of artist presentations and open commissions.
You can add to the offer Disability Arts Online makes to support the talent development of a community of disabled artists. When you make your donation through Givey, 100% of the donation to Disability Arts Online will go to the commissioning of new work from disabled artists. Your details are safe with Givey. Donating is completely secure and they only share your email address with the Charity you donate to and never with any third parties.
You can boost your donation by 25% with Gift Aid. If you are a UK taxpayer, you can claim Gift Aid using Givey. When you make your donation through Givey, we receive 100% of the donation. When the fundraising period is at an end we will send thanks to all those who offered charitable donations to our fund.
What they said about the 2020 Covid Commissions opportunities:
“The Disability Arts Online team were supportive and helpful, I felt at ease throughout the whole process. The series of Artists Talks was a wonderful thing to be a part of.”
“You are lush. DAO has been vital in supporting me to develop skills and connections to sustain my practice (and sanity!) in a terrifyingly uncertain future.”
“I had lost a lot of work, so the commission was really helpful in paying my bills.”
“The commissions allowed me to find out about work by, and make connections with astonishing disabled artists around the world!”
“I was in need of an outlet for my work. I also felt very alienated and lonely and the commission helped me connect with people.”
“I enjoyed the challenge of trying out new technology to record my talk. I will be using that in another talk I’m giving, so thanks very much.”
“I was awarded two further commissions – one for an arts festival and one for a major literary trust, following DAO’s Covid commissions opportunity.”