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Toledo Museum of Art joins forces with Disability EmpowHer Network to Uplift and Celebrate Women Artists with Disabilities

June 22, 2023

Toledo Museum of Art façade Photo Credit: Andrew Weber

In celebration of the 24th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court Olmstead decision, Disability EmpowHer Network and the Toledo Museum of Art are hosting the second annual Disabled Women Make History (and Art) event on Saturday, June 24 from 6-8 p.m. in the Glass Pavilion of the Toledo Museum of Art.

On June 22, 1999, the United States Supreme Court held in Olmstead v. L.C. that unjustified segregation of persons with disabilities constitutes discrimination in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Court held that public entities must provide community-based services to persons with disabilities. The two plaintiffs were women with disabilities; one of the women, Lois Curtis, was an artist. Disabled Women Make History (and Art) celebrates the Olmstead decision as well as all women artists with disabilities and the incredible impacts they make on the world through their art and advocacy.

As a part of the celebration, women artists with disabilities from across the country were invited to submit their artwork for consideration to be displayed as part of this event. Twenty artists were selected and invited to showcase their work. In addition, the artists receive admission to two exclusive workshops to enhance their skills in marketing themselves and their artwork.

This is the second annual Disabled Women Make History (and Art) event. Last year, 17 women artists with disabilities were featured, including artists as young as 16 years old. 

“I’m so honored and thrilled to be partnering with Disability EmpowHer Network on this event for the second year. Last year’s Disabled Women Make History (and Art) event was an important moment for me. It was the first time in my role at the Toledo Museum of Art that I saw so many people with varying disabilities in the Museum all at the same time. I’m looking forward to continuing this event and providing the space for these artists to share their stories,” said Katie Shelley, Conda family manager of access initiatives for the Toledo Museum of Art.

Stephanie Woodward, executive director of Disability EmpowHer Network, said women artists with disabilities often do not get the credit and recognition they deserve. “There are so many talented disabled women artists in the world, and we simply do not see enough of their work. This event helps to uplift these incredible artists, not only by displaying their work in the Museum but also by helping them to learn new skills to market themselves and their art.”

This event is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Ohio Olmstead Task Force, the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council, Disability Rights Ohio and The Ability Center. To learn more and attend the event on Saturday evening, please contact Katie Shelley at or Stephanie Woodward at 


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