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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

ODS art showcase to break the status quo with “Disabled & Proud”

Mural
Mural

The Office of Disability Services (ODS) will present “Disabled & Proud (I Am Different But Not Less),” an interdisciplinary art show, to highlight the experience of Texas State’s population of students with disabilities on Thursday, March 30.
With the art show, ODS aims to create a better sense of community within the disabled community and for them to express themselves in an artistic form.
“I understand that they may not always have that opportunity, and I would like to do that for them,” Amber Cantu, disability specialist and the event’s campus sponsor, said. “I’d like for both the artists and the spectators to again just develop that sense of community and maybe feel more proud to be a student with a disability.”
The art show will include a giveaway of two bags with donations from the university bookstore and a fruit and juice display. It is open for all students, faculty and staff to attend. Any student was able to submit a piece for the show by emailing ODS by the deadline.
The show’s name “Disabled & Proud (I Am Different But Not Less)” comes from wanting to make students with disabilities proud of themselves. When deciding on a name, ODS noticed many underrepresented groups take pride in their identity. The art show will help boost students with disabilities’ confidence in expressing theirs.
Past outreach events have aligned with national observations such as the National Black HIV AIDS Awareness Day on Feb. 7 and “Tips and Tricks: Beating the Burnout” on April 12. March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, and “Disabled & Proud (I Am Different But Not Less)” stands out as the first event of its kind to display the talents of students with disabilities.
“Unlike most of our events, where we’re either conducting a tabling and we’re passing out brochures and information regarding the services our office provides, this is giving students with disabilities — especially with an office — an opportunity to show a reflection of themselves,” Harlan Ballard, outreach coordinator, said.
Ballard said art is a reflection of one’s inner self, whether through painting, sculpture, welding clay or another medium. As an expression of one’s individual self, art will allow students to express themselves in a way they may not have been able to before.
Frank Lyon, an ODS intern, said the art show can benefit young traditional and nontraditional veteran students. From a veteran’s perspective, he plans on attending because it can serve as an outlet for veterans dealing with mental health illnesses to receive help. Lyon said a veteran associated with the Veterans Alliance at Texas State (VATS) brought a binder of artwork to ODS.
“It was beautiful artwork, and he came down because he saw one of the flyers of ‘Disabled & Proud,’ and he specifically came down here and made sure that Amber Cantu had that,” Lyon said. “I think it’s really important for people, especially with a mental health illness, to find an outlet.”
The event will also spread awareness about ODS as an available resource for Texas State students to request accommodations for campus life. According to Cantu, roughly 2,100 students are registered with ODS. While this is one of the highest numbers recorded in the program’s history, she said it still needs to catch up to the old estimate of 3,800 gathered from 10% of the student population and the updated estimate of 7,600, accounting for 18-25%.
“There’s many reasons why students may not register with our office,” Cantu said. “I think one reason is simply because they don’t know that we exist, and another reason is because of the stigma associated with disabilities. Some students may not want to identify as a student with a disability. I’m looking to break that stigma, and hopefully, this art show can help with that a little bit.”
“Disabled & Proud (I Am Different But Not Less)” will be from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 30 in rooms in rooms 3-6.1 and 3-7.1 of the LBJ Student Center.
For more information on the Office of Disability Services and its events, visit https://www.ods.txst.edu/.

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