Disabled Artists Know No Bounds in Arise's 'UNIQUE' Exhibit

Aug 19, 2013

Central New Yorkers experienced a special evening of art and creativity at the Everson  Museum for the opening of the UNIQUE Art Exhibit.

“When people think of people with schizophrenia they think of people who are killing people or doing bad things but actually they’re not."

Painter Anna Marie Kiuper says art is everybody’s expression of how they feel inside….and she’s glad to be a part of a night where people can visually see that.

  "Like me I can make beautiful things and be a part of my community."

Kiuper’s painting is part of the ARISE Foundation’s annual UNIQUE art & literary exhibition, showcasing pieces created by local artists with disabilities.


Everson Museum Executive Director Steven Kern says creativity is everywhere and categories that would normally separate us, disappear when it comes to art.

“You might be surprised of somebody who's in a wheelchair who cannot use their arms and legs can actually paint an extraordinary painting; someone who cannot communicate verbally has absolutely profound ability to communicate through a watercolor. These I think are really important lessons for all of us. It shows that common ground is what it’s all about”

Vickie Darby’s poem, “I Was Only Ten” (below) was selected for the back cover of the UNIQUE magazine. It captures her personal experiences as a victim of sexual abuse. She says writing about it was a challenge, but she no longer feels alone.

“It was hard. I did a lot of crying, a lot of thinking a lot of sketching. I turned around and talked to my therapist and she said that she feels that it would be a breakthrough for me to actually let it out”

A total of 140 works were submitted but only 60 were chosen for ARISE’s UNIQUE exhibit that’s on display at the Everson through  September 1st. 

"I Was Only Ten" by Vicki Darby

I was only ten when it began.

Late night when I was alone.

You preyed on my innocence and trust.

How did I know it was wrong?

You did things so horrible to me.

My soul and body were scared.

What you did to that little girl left me alone and scarred.

You said it was to show your love, taking my body for your use.

Now I know that what happened to me wasn’t love, but abuse.

All the dirty things you did to me won’t ever be washed away with rain.

Nothing will rid my heart of this never ending pain.

I hope that you hurt as much as I do.

Do you even remember what you did?

Nothing will make up for the pain you caused when I was a kid.

The physical scars you put on my body have since healed with time

But my pain still shows inside.

Whenever the child inside me cries it’s that little ten year old girl.

I had to grow up fast and way too soon.

All the pain and hurt that you have caused with always be remembered

Like a flower that forever blooms.