Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

ALTERNATIVES

Going beyond our differences

January 26, 2006|Susan Carpenter

The 50 million Americans living with some type of long-lasting condition or disability are familiar with the reactions -- of people avoiding them and under- or over-reacting to their impairments. Individuals who are sight- and hearing-impaired or physically or mentally challenged are less familiar with public events that celebrate them. That's because those events, for the most part, don't exist.

The organizers of this weekend's Festival of Human Abilities at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach hope to lead by example with an event that highlights the creative talents and abilities of people with disabilities. Now in its third year, the two-day fest will feature a wheelchair dance group and a signing choir, as well as service dog demonstrations, storytelling and world music from the local band Bayadera, featuring visually impaired guitarist Dat Nguyen.

An aquarium hosting a festival celebrating the creative spirit of people with disabilities "doesn't make immediate logical sense," admits Kathie Nirschl, vice president of human resources for the aquarium. "But the point is every human being relies on the planet to live, and what's happening with the ocean is important to every single one of us. Finding a creative way to not only acknowledge all of the ways we're similar, as well as our differences ... that's part of this."

*

Susan Carpenter

*

Festival of Human Abilities, Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $19.95; $16.95, seniors; $11.95, children ages 3 to 11); free, children younger than 3. (562) 590-3100, www.aquariumofpacific.org.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|