Artist Connect was a series of online events that brought together 6 communities of artists with disabilities.

This report is an overview of what happened and what we learned during Artist Connect.

participating Artists across Canada
featured artists

BEING Studio operates on the traditional, unceded and unsurrendered territories of the Algonquin Nation. We acknowledge past and present injustices and work towards change, Indigenous sovereignty and a more just future. For Artist Connect we gathered virtually across turtle Island to continue to share and learn together.

About this Report

Artist Connect was an online gathering of artists from different disability communities across Canada. BEING worked closely with Connected Canadians, the Disability Justice Network of Ontario, National accessArts Centre, H’Art Center, Propeller Dance, the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts and theSpace to make these events happen. During Artist Connect we talked about artwork, accessibility and community in online spaces. The three videos below are about what happened, and what we learned during Artist Connect.

Self-Determination is the ability to self-define.

To choose the words to describe yourself and to talk about the ways you want to be supported in any situation.

In video 1, we explore what a disability-led space looks like on zoom. This video highlights the challenges of creating an accessible discussion, and the ways that artists took ownership of the space!

Interdependence means connecting with each other through artwork, language, and friendship.

It is about how we are all really connected. How we all give and need support and that all relationships are two-way streets.

Video 2 explores what it means to be recognized and appreciated. It looks at how artists created welcoming and supportive spaces that allowed for sharing, support, and inspiration.

Connection is the fabric of community.

It is often built from shared experiences and interests. Connection gives us strength, laughter, inspiration, and energy that continues to grow.

Video 3 explores how Artist Connect brought people together and helped to create community. Artists explore disability culture, disability art, and the impact of making connections during a pandemic. Artists discuss what’s next and share ways to work towards a better future and a stronger art world.

From the Virtual Coffee Artist Talks:

“Our work gets to be the thing that makes people think. I try to help people understand what kind of world we’re trying to build.”
Syrus Marcus Ware, Virtual Coffee Keynote, Envision the Future
“It’s about building trust with communities and collaborating with each other so we can build a better, more just world.”
Sahra Soudi, Virtual Coffee Keynote On Our Terms: Care & Disability Justice
“We may not know our impact on others, but it’s important to help others through art.”
Kim Kilpatrick, Virtual Coffee Keynote, The Art of Story Telling
“It doesn’t have to be just for you, maybe you have a dream of making a YouTube show with people or a podcast. It’s for all sorts of creative people to come together.”
Chris Binkowski/ Bucko, Virtual Coffee Keynote, How Can I Get Paid For Making Digital Art?
“With Disability Justice and thinking about our own communities, it’s really important to think about how we can make relationships with people where we can be respected with our own demands and desires. What we want to do versus what we’re being told to do. And, for those relationships, especially with people who are supporting us, for those relationships to be equal and mutual relationships.”
Carmen Papalia, Virtual Coffee Keynote On Our Terms: Care & Disability Justice
“You can draw what you want to draw, you can be who you want to be, and you can love what you have drawn and what you are.”
Debbie Ratcliffe, Virtual Coffee Host, Reflections on Self Determination
“Let’s get creative by thinking about how we might describe something we love to somebody who cannot see and learn about how descriptions reveal vibrant new worlds.”
Valentin Brown, Virtual Coffee Keynote, The Value of Descriptions
“Empowerment! It’s a great way to send our voices into the world, into our artwork. It’s great to bring a lot of people on zoom. To bring people into our world and see what is really inspiring us.”
Analisa Kiskis, Virtual Coffee Host, Reflections on Artist Connect


Online events can be an important way to stay informed, connected, and creative! We compiled a checklist based what we learned from Artist Connect. Here are some tips we found helpful for hosting more welcoming and accessible events on Zoom.


Thank you to the artists, organizers, facilitators, volunteers, captioners and speakers who made Artist Connect possible. We are grateful to the communities of the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts, the National Access Arts Center, H’Art Kingston, the Space and Propeller Dance for bringing artwork, enthusiasm and ideas to Artist Connect and to Connected Canadians for providing tech support. A big thank you to the artists whose work, voices, ideas and reflections are shared in this report.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Community Foundation.