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Madison Nonprofit Day: Artists with disabilities still face significant obstacles

Alnisa Allgood, 608-241-3616 or

Meghan Blake-Horst, 608-347-0267 or

Top of State to Showcase Artists with Disabilities
Thursday, September 17th at Top of State, 100 S. Mifflin

MADISON, WI - "Though great improvements resulted from the Americans with Disabilities Act, 25 years after the ADA was signed into law, significant obstacles remain for people with disabilities — in employment, housing and everyday mobility and accessibility," comments Theresa Kulow, of Employment Resources, Inc., a nonprofit focused on advancing the employment goals of people with disabilities.

On Thursday, September 17th, MadCity Bazaar @ Top of State will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the American's with Disabilities Act by presenting an Artists with Disabilities Showcase. The event will take place from 12-Noon to 6pm at the Top of State, where State Street meets the Square (Philosophers' Grove, 100 S. Mifflin St.).

In partnership with Madison Nonprofit Day and the Top of State Program through the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID), we will be showcasing a number of local artists with disabilities. These artists use their creative talents to earn a living, as well as, to educate and beautify our community. “Despite all that has been accomplished by the Americans with Disabilities Act, a majority of people with disabilities still live in poverty and have minimal employment opportunities,” states Kathleen Johnson, Founder & CEO of Indigo Wings, Inc.

Micro-business opportunities for disabled artists can provide not only supplemental income, but nurturing of talent, improve self-esteem, and access to a community that many feel cut-off from. Talent and the entrepreneurial spirit knows no boundaries. There are many Madisonians that have been labeled as unable to hold a traditional job. These amazing people are combining their love for the arts, their talent and their drive to create into their jobs.

Madison has a number of nonprofit organizations who focus on making sure individuals with disabilities receive the access they need to participate fully in society. Organizational partners for the showcase include: Access to Independence, Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC), ArtWorking, Board for People with Developmental Disabilities, Community Support Network (CSN), Indigo Wings, MSCR, VSA Wisconsin, and Rhapsody Arts Center.

Dan Sullivan, an artist with a visual impairment tells us, "It continues to amaze me how much my artwork has taken off since associating with VSA Wisconsin. It is such a wonderful experience that as a result of being labeled an artist through your organization, I am now defined more than ever by ability rather than disability."

"The 25th Anniversary of the ADA is a good time to reflect on the progress made, and the work to be done, for disability rights." states Jason Beloungy, Assistant Director at Access to Independence. A showcase like the Top of State highlights the great progress that has been made, without underscoring the importance of the work that still needs to be accomplished.

Come meet and view art from a variety of artists with disabilities. Some of the participating artists and the organizations that support them, will be waiting for you to visit and take note—— this is why the ADA was passed to ensure equal opportunity for persons with disabilities. So come have lunch downtown at the Top of State. Bring your wallet, purchase some amazing works of art, while celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the ADA.


About MadCity Bazaar: MadCity Bazaar features vendors selling locally made art, crafts, high-quality vintage collectibles and other goods at markets at Washington Plaza and Top of State. MCB also highlights nonprofit organizations at their markets and provides technical assistance for new vendors. www.madcitybazaar.com

About Top of State: The Top of State summer series feature a mix of programs, events and activities where State Street meets the Square. Presented by Madison’s Central Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with the City of Madison, Madison Parks Foundation and Isthmus. www.top-of-state.com

About Madison Nonprofit Day: Madison Nonprofit Day is a volunteer-driven collaboration to empower change-makers by strengthening the social sector. Working together to build community, enhance collaboration, and expand awareness of the value that social good can bring. We organize community events like the Artists with Disabilities Showcase and the Madison Nonprofit Day Conference. madisonnonprofitday.org

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