Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

ACDC Showcases Art, Disability Culture in Performance


Georgetown’s Disability Cultural Initiative (DCI) hosted the second-annual Art Celebrating Disability Culture (ACDC) event Oct. 18.

The DCI was founded as an aspect of the Disability Cultural Center in 2022 and aims to establish an inclusive environment for disabled community members and to educate non-disabled members. The ACDC showcase was part of the DCI’s commemoration of Disability Culture Awareness Month and featured student art. 

The event, which was held in Riggs Library, featured art, short stories, music, poetry and dance from 15 students and a performance by the Phantoms, Georgetown University’s premier all-gender acapella group. The Division of Student Affairs and The Office of the President sponsored the event, which aimed to increase community among the students, faculty and staff of DCI.

Amy Kenny, the inaugural director of the Disability Cultural Center, opened the event. Kenny said that the goal of the showcase was to elevate disability culture and spotlight students’ unique perspectives. 

“This evening began with a simple premise in a discussion with our students,” Kenny said at the event. “Disabled folks are uniquely creative because we live in a world not built for our bodyminds.”

Kenny said inventions people use every day, like texting and the electric toothbrush, came from the creativity of disabled people, representing the need to support the creativity of disabled students. 

“These assistive technologies many of us use every day without even realizing their disability cultural history,” Kenny said. “ACDC invites us into a world where we get to reimagine what it means to celebrate disability culture.”

Delfina Bell (SOH ’25), Emilio Cazares Borbon (CAS ’26) and Adriel Perez (CAS ’24), members of Ballet Folklórico Mexicano, Georgetown’s student-run traditional Mexican dance ensemble, began the event with a dance performance. Subhiksha Balaji (SOH ’24), Ananya Munjal (SOH ’26), Saanchi Jain (SOH ’26) and Zayan Baig (SOH ’25) danced as members of Jawani, Georgetown’s Bhangra dance team. 

@MarinaNy/Shutterstock | Georgetown’s Disability Cultural Initiative members and educate non-disabled members, hosted the second-annual Art Celebrating Disability Culture event, Oct. 18.

Art demonstrations included a live sketch from Edena Park (CAS ’27) and digital art from Graysen Viar (GRD ’25). Natalie Gustin (SFS ’26) shared knitwork she created, which displayed symbols of disability culture, including medical and non-medical representations. 

Gustin said she had never used letters or symbols in her work prior to her knit “tapestry-esque” project. Gustin knitted the words “Celebrate Disabled Joy” into the work, along with depictions of a crutch, cane, book, service dog, heart, wheelchair, medication and music notes surrounding the phrase. 

Gustin said this 100-by-120-row project was the largest she had created, and including elements such as smiles and music in her art was an intentional choice to show that joy is an integral part of disability culture.

“I also included the book, music notes and smiley face because, to me, these parts are still part of disability culture,” Gustin said at the event. “When I think of disability culture, I see that.”

Gustin said she combined different medical and non-medical symbols to represent the different aspects that make disability culture important and unique. 

“A lot of people were confused when they saw the books and the music notes because situating it amongst these medical-related things was kind of confusing for people who don’t know what disability culture is,” Gustin said. “We still have some work to do when it comes to helping the non-disabled community understand that there is a disabled culture and that we, as disabled people, do have art, music, history, activism and academia and are all involved in disabled joy.”

Bilquisu Abdullah (CAS ’25) shared a short story titled “Feeding Turtles” about her experiences facing academic pressure. Mel Hardy (GRD ’22) shared a poem about their experience using a crutch and the perceptions it draws from society. 

Musical performances included a duet of the violin and darbuka from Shreya Dudeja (SOH ’25) and Daniyal Nisbet (CAS ’26). Aamna Asim (SFS ’25) sang “Seven” by Taylor Swift. 

Anna Holk (CAS ’27), who attended the event, said she believes ACDC and programming from the DCI are important to educate the Georgetown community on disability culture and give members of the disabled community an opportunity to express their pride through art. 

“For disabled people at Georgetown, these events serve as a place to showcase art that represents our community,” Holk wrote to The Hoya. “It also creates a space to come together and experience community! For non-disabled members of the Georgetown community, ACDC or similar events might be their first introduction to the idea of disability culture.”

Holk said she intends to join the ACDC showcase next year by writing poetry or playing the piano. 

“Personally, I loved watching people share their stories, visual art, poetry and music,” Holk wrote. “I would love to join next year to be surrounded by talented artists and experience it as a performer!”

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