9 Artists Receive the 2023 Midwest Award for Artists with Disabilities

Please note that we acknowledge both identity first and person first framing of disability identity. When we use the phrase “disabled artists,” we intend to align with the Social Model of Disability understanding that people are disabled by environmental and societal barriers.

Arts Midwest is thrilled to announce the inaugural winners of the Midwest Award for Artists with Disabilities. This award, designed to support accessibility in the arts and celebrate the exceptional work of disabled Midwestern visual artists, has received an incredible response from the artistic community.  Over 200 artists applied to receive funds, and a panel of seven reviewers narrowed the pool to nine finalists from across the Midwest.

We are delighted to recognize the creativity and dedication of nine incredible artists who have been making a significant impact in the field:

  • Matthew Bodett (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Larissa Danielle (Bloomington, Indiana)
  • Lauren Bonney (Decorah, Iowa)
  • Maggie Laycock (Sterling Heights, Michigan)
  • Madison Rubenstein (Bloomington, Minnesota)
  • Bonnie Lee (Fargo, North Dakota)
  • Andrea Sosa Fontaine (Cleveland Heights, Ohio)
  • Mary Payton Zajicek (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
  • Sarah Muehlbauer (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

As part of this award, each recipient will receive $3,000 to support their artistic journey, with no restrictions on how they choose to use this funding.

“We are honored to support these incredible artists through the Midwest Award for Artists with Disabilities,” says Torrie Allen, President and CEO of Arts Midwest. “We believe it’s one small step towards creating a more inclusive and accessible arts community where visual artists with disabilities can thrive.”

Established in 2022, the Midwest Award for Artists with Disabilities is supported by the James Edward Scherbarth and Paul Francis Mosley Giving Fund. The award was created in honor of the late James Edward Scherbarth, an award-winning visual artist, visual arts teacher, and advocate of arts access who lived and worked in Minnesota. Jim believed that creativity lives in everyone, and he dedicated his career to helping people express themselves through the visual arts.


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