Meet Benjamin Merritt, Resident Artist from Minneapolis, MN, for a conversation addressing disability in the arts, his own artistic practice, and considerations and strategies to make studio arts like printmaking more accessible for people of all abilities. Printmakers, teachers, and those working in academic settings are all encouraged to learn about and discuss what accessibility means and some challenges and solutions to creating accessible classrooms and studios.
Part artist talk and part participatory conversation, Benjamin will lead a group conversation addressing how to make arts and academic spaces more accessible. He will share various sensory and adaptive modifications of printmaking tools and projects for the benefit of everyone involved in the arts, including people with various disabilities.
As an artist and writer, Benjamin Merritt challenges the normative idea that the body is something individual, unchanging, and fully knowable by objective means. His prints and drawings combine imagery and text from his medical records and personal writings, exploring his own experience with chronic illness as well as how patient’s bodies are written about and recorded. His work asks us to rethink the medicalized constructs we apply to the body, and suggests alternatives that are more beneficial to and understanding of bodies that don’t fit these norms.