Let it be known:

Extreme Kids & Crew will honor individuals in the arts who have moved the general public’s perception of disability away from fear and loathing towards a more nuanced wonder at the
multiplicity of being and the diversity of experience.

At the organization’s spring gala, Rosanne Cash will present the Felix Award in Writing to Andrew Solomon, whose book Far From the Tree illuminates the experiences of parents
raising children with disabilities, provides valuable analytic tools for understanding complicated family dynamics, and demonstrates the transformative power of communities based on difference. Karen Pittman will present the Felix Award in Art to Jill Mullin, whose book Drawing Autism showcases an impressive array of work by professional and amateur artists on the autism spectrum, blasting through the misconception that people with autism have no imagination.

The leadership at Extreme Kids & Crew is comprised of parents who have experience both inside and outside the world of disability and are acutely aware of the general population’s
awkwardness, fear, pity, and sometimes outright derision regarding people with disabilities. While living with disability and caring for those with disabilities is no picnic, neither is it the gloomy tomb it is often made out to be. Indeed the challenges, pains, frustrations, and injustices associated with disability can lead to creativity, resilience, humor and novel ways of perceiving the world. Much of the disconnect between what disability looks like from the outside and what it feels like from the inside has do with misunderstanding and inexperience.

We at Extreme Kids & Crew have initiated the Felix Awards because we believe that the arts have an important role to play in breaking down some of this misunderstanding. A deeper knowledge of disability not only can make for better manners and civic relations, but also can help members of the general public better accept their own frailties, quirks, and mortality. Most of us will become disabled at some point in our lives. Most of us will also care for a disabled loved one. Understanding that disability need not be a punishment, banishment, end-of-everything-good, but that it is simply a part of life, is surely useful to our
collective mental health.

AuthorCaitlin Cassaro