Thinking about Accessibility

Photograph of a shape of a girl’s profile embossed with the texture and pattern of a curb cut.  The small and large bumps create the features of her face: her eyes, her lips.  This piece beckons the question: what if spaces were accessible to everyone?  It honors people who cannot reliably enter all spaces.  Access is a constant question for many folks with disabilities. “Will I be able to? “How will I?” Will they have …?” run through the mind nonstop. It can be all consuming. In a society that routinely brushes those with disabilities to the margins, this piece brings their accessibility to the forefront.

N.B.: These descriptions were developed from a series of conversations between artist Jessica Skintges Wallach and comedian Lamont Price, The People’s heART’s docent.  Sometimes they choose to write these descriptions in one voice and sometimes they choose to highlight their individual thoughts.  These pieces are a conversation started and they both are very interested in what you see in them and what they make you think about. Please leave comments below.

Respect for all bodies!!!!  All space should respect all bodies.”

Lamont Price

Jessica: Accessibility is the lens in which I see everything through.  You say black live matter, I think what spaces to black folx feel safe in, because it is only when people feel safe do people have true access to a space, to the right to take up space. 

Lamont:  For us normies, it is something that we never have to think about. I realize this as a Black man. There are things people who look like me have to think about daily that, say, a white person will never have to lose sleep over. The most interesting thing is that providing accessibility to those who need it inadvertently makes things easier for ALL of us. Take something as simple as a curb cut. Yes it helps those using wheelchairs, but we overlook just how these little ramps make life easier for people who don’t have a disability. Bikes, strollers, grocery carts, the list goes on and on. We can be so shortsighted at times that we completely ignore that doing right by one group of people means you are doing right to lots of people.

Jessica:  I like this saying, “Plan for the folks on the margins and everyone gets taken care of.”

Soundtrack: Sweet Honey and the Rock

Jessica Skintges Wallach, Thinking about Accessibility, 2022. Digital Photograph. ©Jessica Wallach. All rights reserved.

Jessica Skintges Wallach

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The Body Is Good is a collection of photographs by Jessica Wallach centered around the theme of accessibility and inclusion of individuals with disabilities. Her work uses hand cut stencils, light, and everyday objects to remind viewers of the importance of viewing the world through a lens on inclusion.

This collection is the result of generous donations from The Center for Visual Arts in Healthcare at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Other work from The Body Is Good