#ADA30 Artist Spotlights – Weeks 3 & 4

#ADA30 Artist Spotlights – Weeks 3 & 4

The end of July marks the end of most official celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but that doesn’t mean we need to stop lifting up disabled creators in the arts and culture field! Check out the list below to see all of the artists we featured in the last two weeks of July as part of our #ADA30 Artist Spotlight series, and stay tuned on our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more artist spotlights in the future.

Lily Lipman (she/her)

A collage of 3 photos. Photo 1: Lily, a white woman with short, curly brown hair smiles slightly at the camera. She is wearing a black shirt. Photo 2: Lily performs a scene with another actor. She stands while he sits, and her face is very close to his. Photo 3: Lily wears a green shirt and smiles widely at the camera in front of a yellow background.

“I’m an actor and I act because telling stories that may be different from your audience’s experience can be a tool for empathy. When a character is compelling and multilayered, that’s when an audience starts to become invested in their circumstance and I have the ability to make that shift happen. I’m equally happy being in a Shakespeare show, performing in a new work, being in a film, or a reading, I just want to collaborate with other artists. If you have a project for a short, hardworking, hearing disabled, enthusiastic woman please reach out!”

Follow Lily on Instagram at @lily_lipman.

Melanie Waldman (she/her)

A collage of 3 images. Image 1: Melanie, a woman with brown curly hair wearing a white shirt, stands outside and smiles slightly at the camera. Her right arm is amputated at the elbow. Image 2: Melanie stands in a powerful stance with her left hand on her hip. She wears a prosthetic on her right arm. This image is overlaid over a blue background that reads "Melianie Waldman" and "MAC Artist Spotlight." Image 3: Melanie wears athletic clothing and does a plank on a blue yoga mat while smiling at the camera. She wears a prosthetic on her right arm.

“Hi there! My name is Melanie. I’m a 29 year old actor, filmmaker & yoga teacher. l am a right-arm amputee and I was diagnosed with having lupus in 2013. Over the past 3 years I began volunteering with the amputee coalition, as a camp counselor for “Amp Camp”. I’ve been the camp’s official yoga teacher for the past 2 summers. Being in a place that is full of campers and counselors alike who are just like me feels equally as incredible as it is an indescribable experience!

I’ve definitely been leaning into my disability pride this month as I’ve just completed my very first mini-documentary about my story about acquiring my disabilities, over the past 7 years of my life. I’m grateful that its premiere will coincide with celebrating 30 years of the Americans with Disabilities act. I feel like it’s the perfect time for me to be really able to open up to a much broader audience about my story, than I think I ever have before.

Becoming disabled is something that can happen to anyone at any point in their lifetime, so while I “came into this world at 22” I don’t think I would ever expect or want my life to ever go “back to normal” in my life, again! Be on the lookout for my short autobiographical film, titled “Being A.C.-een”, to premiere later this month on YouTube, Facebook, and more!”

Follow Melanie on Instagram at @whereswaldman.

Bree Klauser (she/her)

A collage of 3 images. Image 1: A still from the TV show SEE. Bree stands in a forest, her eyes closed. Image 2: Bree, a white woman with short brown hair, stands confidently with her hands on her hips, wearing a blue gown with a slit up one leg. On the wall behind her is the Apple TV logo and the word "SEE." Image 3: Bree wears a plaid shirt and looks directly into the camera. This image is placed on a blue background that reads "Bree Klauser" and "MAC Artist Spotlight."

“As an artist with an invisible disability (I’m low vision/legally blind as well as preliminarily diagnosed with ADHD) it is my goal to not only provide accurate and authentic representation for people with disabilities in all forms of media but also break boundaries and stereotypes of these roles. I also don’t want to be limited to just telling stories of people who are low vision because, just like anyone with a disability, my visual impairment and neuro-diversity are not the only things that define me.

Music has always been my first love and I spent many years of my life devoting time to my music project Bree and the Whatevers. I hope that music will become part of my future as well. I feel my voice is my most expressive asset. I am proud to be lending it to the disabled community as well as other marginalized groups.”

You can find Bree starring in the new Audible Original Series “Phreaks” launching this July, and you can see her on the AppleTV+ series SEE alongside Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard. Follow Bree on Instagram at @bree_klauser_official!

Robert Latchman (he/him)

A collage of 3 images. Image 1: Robert, a Black man wearing an orange polo shirt, smiles at the camera. This image is placed on a green background that reads "Robert Latchman" and "MAC Artist Spotlight." Image 2: A self-portrait of Robert done in acrylics. He wears a purple shirt and looks straight ahead. Image 3: An abstract city skyline painted in many small blocks of color.

Robert Latchman (b. 1976) is a Trinidadian born artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Latchman uses a variety of materials to capture the personality of his environment. In his current work, Latchman is primarily focused on representations of the Brooklyn Bridge, a structure that he describes as “snapping together” against “different tones of color and texture.” Through each representation, Latchman imbues his personality into the canvas. As playful hues brush against the boats and people surrounding the bridge—subjects of his earlier works—the images serve as a representation of both Latchman’s present life and the history on which it was built.

To see more of his work, follow @landgallery on Instagram.

Ryan Seslow

A collage of 3 images: Image 1: A multimedia art piece featuring a male figure holding a mask in front of his face. Behind him are two giant ears, two volume symbols, and a collage of abstract colors. Along the bottom is a row of hands signing different letters in ASL. Image 2: A close up of Robert looking directly into the camera; his face is partially visible. This image is set on a green background with the words "MAC Artist Spotlight" and "Ryan Seslow" beneath it. Image 3: Ryan uses a can of yellow spray paint to add to a large, colorful mural.

“I’m an artist, a graphic designer, front end web designer, and a professor of digital art & design living and working in New York City. I’m Deaf & Hard of Hearing, I write a lot about it here – https://bit.ly/2Ar9wZq. As a visual artist I’m often working with a synthesis of applied arts, new media, digital and Internet-art. I like to show my work both on and off the web. I share a lot of my current projects, exhibitions and collaborations on the blog section of my website. (ryanseslow.com)

As a professor of Digital Art & Design I teach various hybrid studio art, digital art, graphic design, new media, digital storytelling, communication technology & web design courses for graduate and undergraduate level programs simultaneously in NYC between CUNY York College & the Borough of Manhattan Community College, NYIT, The Graduate School of Technology at Touro College, & Iona College. I completed my 15th year of teaching this past spring semester of 2020. As a graphic designer, front end web designer and illustrator I offer various design services to help you and your business. I specialize in working with new small and medium sized businesses, as well as one on one with individuals. I’m passionate about helping you create a presence and identity here on the web.”

Follow Ryan on Instagram at @ryanseslow, and on Twitter at @ryanseslow.

Michelle Hammer (she/her)

A collage of 3 images. Image 1: Michelle looks down at a sketchbook in her hands. On one page of the sketchbook is an abstract blue and yellow drawing. Image 2: Michelle, a woman with shoulder-length brown hair, leans against a window with one hand on her hip and smiles at the camera. She wears a black t-shirt that reads "Don't be paranoid, you look great." Image 3: Michelle sits behind a table with t-shirts and posters on display. The table reads "schizophrenic.nyc".

Michelle Hammer is a Schizophrenia Activist and created and founded the company Schizophrenic.NYC. She is an NYC native and was featured in the WebMD documentary Voices, which was nominated for a Tribeca X Award at the Tribeca Film Festival 2018. Michelle has also been featured in Mashable, The Daily Mail, Stylist, and Buzzfeed to name a few. Michelle was diagnosed with Schizophrenia at 22, after a misdiagnosis of Bipolar at age 18. At 27, Michelle decided to use her artistic talents, and fearless personality to do something that could benefit the mental health community. In May 2015, she founded the company Schizophrenic.NYC, which is a clothing line with the mission of reducing stigma by starting conversations about mental health.

From Michelle: “I like to show people what is going on in my head through the form of artwork.”

Follow Michelle on Instagram at @schizophrenic.nyc.

Theresa Sareo

A collage of 3 images. Image 1: Theresa, a white woman with shoulder-length red hair, stands with her arms around two women. She wears a knee-length floral print dress and a prosthetic on her right leg. Each of the other women wears a hijab and a long dress. Image 2: Theresa wears all black and sits in front of a microphone. She holds her detached prosthetic leg upright in one hand. Image 3: Theresa wears a dress and stands in front of a microphone with two American flags behind her. She wears a prosthetic on her right leg.

“I am a singer/songwriter/actor/film-maker/traumasurvivor/amputee/author/humanitarian and motivational performer who is passionate about sharing my (and other’s) personal story through music and art to help teach, heal and inspire others and our world!”

For more, visit www.theresasareo.com.

David Friedman (he/him)

A collage of 3 images. Image 1: acrylic on canvas painting “Window Garden, Paris, France” - window with a small tree and red and pink flowers growing from a planter in front of the window. Image 2: David wears glasses and a gray sweater and smiles at the camera. Image 3: A cartoon man sitting in manual wheelchair eating a sandwich wearing a blue shirt, khaki pants, and red sneakers.

“As a child, I was constantly drawing and painting. I dreamed of becoming a cartoon animator for the Walt Disney Studios. Time passed, and my path in life changed, but I never lost my passion for creating art and design. ​ My philosophy for my graphic design is that design must communicate in a way that motivates and inspires the viewer. In today’s world, design must be innovative, and cut through the “noise” to make sure that the message is received. It is this type of design that I am able to create using my extensive experience in Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. My big dream would be to have my work featured in a gallery and/or show. I’d also love to be able to make a living from creating art.”

Follow David on Instagram at @disabledfoodie and on Twitter at @disabledfoodie. You can also check out his graphic design portfolio here and his “Near & Far” paintings here.

Patricia Kalidonis (she/her)

Self-Portrait painting of Artist Patricia Kalidonis in warm grays. With blue glasses and red hair, Patricia rests her chin on her hand, and awkwardly crosses her legs.

“I paint using abstracted, layered imagery as a way to express my lived experience as a woman on the Autism Spectrum. Heightened sensitivity to sensory input creates a cacophonous world. And while many others think in some form of language-based monologue, my thoughts are instead a continuous stream of images. Overlapping, colorful images in my work attempt to imitate my thought processes and sensorial experiences. Though I have always held a deep desire to be connected to others, most of my life has been defined by alternating states of comfortable solitude and painful loneliness. While many autistic people often feel anxiety around the elusiveness of social relationships, many of us also cherish time spent alone. Though this dichotomy may be common among autistic people, the interplay between loneliness and solitude reaches far beyond those on the spectrum. I thrive on solitude – however, I’ve also learned the importance of community through many failed social interactions, friendships, and family relationships. Social connections keep us afloat in times of hardship and grounded in the world beyond ourselves – loving others and being loved is essential to maintaining our humanness. I am keen to examine subjects such as social connectedness, family bonds, isolation, and solitude from an autistic perspective, but with the hopes that it speaks to many.”

Follow Patricia at @patriciakalidonis on Instagram, and check out her work online at www.patriciakalidonis.com and www.sociallydistantart.com.

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