Clockwise from left: Ryan Hartley Smith & Jerron Herman’s poster commissioned by Liz Jackson and WITH, sponsored by NYC DOT ART & AMPL!FY; Ezra Benus’s “Medication 4” (2018); Laurel Lawson (of Kinetic Light) in rehearsal with Sara Hendren’s one-step ramps in slope : intercept (photo by Alice Sheppard); Shannon Finnegan’s “Reinventing my strangeness” poster (2016); a break-out session during DANT’s 2017 disability arts convening at The New School.

Thank you & Farewell

 

Dear friends,

We are writing to tell you about some decisions we needed to make regarding Disability/Arts/NYC. We’ve decided that it is time to close the virtual doors of DANT.

Three years ago, Kevin and Simi, over a very long cup of coffee, and with a sense of great urgency and excitement, decided we must assemble a group of disabled artists, cultural workers, and allies to support and grow disability arts in NYC. The Task Force began to meet, formulate strategies, and develop collaborative endeavors. We had two primary goals: to shape a disability arts platform for NYC, and to bring greater cohesiveness and support to the disabled artists working in NYC. A history of that work and its outcomes and challenges can be found in DANT’s recently released report: Disability Equity in NYC’s Arts and Culture Landscape. We encourage you to use and disseminate this document.

We’re proud of the work DANT has accomplished since 2016. We had a clear influence on the disability arts agenda set forth in CreateNYC, the cultural plan for the City of New York. DANT successfully advocated for the City to establish a fund to support disability arts, which was inaugurated in 2017 as the Disability Forward Fund. We developed two activist training programs in 2017 and 2019 to grow cohorts of experts around the City. And we partnered with many cultural institutions to offer public programming about disability artistry and activism. We are immensely grateful to all who helped make this work happen.

We’ve thought a great deal about what has changed in New York since we founded DANT. We think the role of an organization like DANT is to assure that a collective voice can responsibly represent our communities. The administrative work to deliver this is beyond our capacity for now. Further, our work has been limited by the fact that DANT is a white-led organization and our initiatives often failed to center the people most affected by the systems we seek to transform. As DANT closes, we will seek ways to support the leadership of queer, trans, disabled people of color.

Working with all of you has been powerful and wonderful.  We hope that the connections you all have made, and the policy and practices we have collectively shaped will continue to grow. And we look forward to seeing the new and exciting endeavors you will undertake that will further this work, now that DANT is no longer here. We are maintaining this website and email addresses for some time. Please get in touch if you would like to help coordinate this newsletter for a monthly round-up of events.

Please know that Kevin and Simi are here and want to be part of these new developments. Kevin is focusing on this teaching and research at NYU, while developing a monthly disability arts nightlife event series. Simi has a number of consultancies, and a new project brewing. We are as committed as ever to disability arts, and to assuring that NYC is an epicenter of the field. The talent is here, the opportunity is here, and the recognition of the artists, dancers, actors, thinkers is growing! The obstacles remain – and we hope that DANT has strengthened our collective resolve and our capacity to dismantle them.

Our very, very best and our deepest thanks to each of you.

Kevin Gotkin and Simi Linton

August 2019

Help us foster disability artistry in NYC.

Get updates from DANT.

Our Work

Training for Cultural Workers

Training for Cultural Workers

Public Programming

Public Programming

Cultural Planning Advocacy

Cultural Planning Advocacy