• Mlica Da Costa

Do People With Disabilities Have a Right to Enjoy Art

Updated: Apr 27

The time spent by people with mild or severe disabilities in care facilities is filled with a wide variety of educational and fun activities, that is, their stay is not just about daily care. Why is Art Useful for People with Disabilities

They have a hard time mastering social skills, some of them are slow in mastering speech and communication, they slowly and slowly develop creativity and are difficult to train for an independent life. That in itself is a big problem when it comes to the daily lives of these individuals, not to mention the quality of their lives. Therefore, art project that have a humanitarian character are something I see as an inevitable step towards adding that quality of life.

How Space Plays a Role in Adding Quality to One's Life The space in which people with disabilities perform their daily activities is part of their daily routine and the surrounding highly affects the creativity of these persons and their mood. I was lucky to volunteer for two facilities that take care of people with disabilities back then at the beginning of 2018 because not only did I learn a lot about them, but I also had a chance to use my influence as an artist and help them.

Humanitarian Art Project How it all started is with a public call to all the artist from my city to take part in a volunteering art projects defined by the artist themselves. Some of them decided to make changes in the environment and polish the facades of schools, make murals on the library walls or paint the benches and trash baskets in the parks to inspire people not to throw the garbage all around the streets. What I knew from the moment I saw the call is that I needed to do something more. Therefore, I came up with an idea to create large scale murals in two facilities that take care of people with disabilities, orphans or children left by their parents. And that was only a beginning. The second part of the project was to draw attention to a therapeutic approach known as art therapy. The third part was a public call through public media once the murals are finished in order to get financial aid and clothes for these incredible people.

There is No Medicine Better than Art Why did I wanted to draw attention to art therapy? Art therapy is intended for all persons suffering from a mental or physical illness, survivors of trauma that find it more difficult to cope with daily life or people who want to work on their personal development. Through the process of creating a work of art and its analysis, a better understanding of oneself and others is achieved. What psychiatrists and psychologist can do is analyze the symptoms, stress level and discover traumatic experiences. Different people can achieve different goals through therapy. This method is used in psychotherapy, treatment of physical ailments, rehabilitation after illness and injury, thus contributing to the improvement of mental and physical health and adding to a better understanding of oneself. The artistic creation of people with disabilities was already understood in the 18th century as a way to overcome the chaos and confusion of psychotic episodes and to appreciate the aesthetic value of the work of art. Further development of the relationship between art and psychiatry has led to the use of drawing as a diagnostic instrument that serves to better understand the symptoms and gather information for further treatment. In this sense, I wanted to emphasize the importance of art therapy in treating persons with disabilities and encourage its further implementation.

People with Disabilities Were Thrilled About the Murals Painting a cheerful mural in the premises of the institutions was only a symbol of what my team and I wanted to achieve. A hidden message that we wanted to be spread and heard by the public is that every artist can make time to do something on the humanitarian side and use its talent to spread the message. Is it necessary to mention that people with disabilities and orphans were thrilled about the murals they were getting? They even wanted to help and participate in the project. Some of them asked me if they can enter the mural and go into that better place, which made me cry. It was extremely difficult and emotional to watch their hard times during the day when their illness comes at a charge. One needs to be emotionally strong to cope with all of the scenes I saw there. My heart was truly broken and that's what actually made me make the mural even better.

How Did I Decide on the Themes for the Murals? One of the projects for people with severe disabilities was imagined as a peaceful mural in the premises in which they spend most of their time. The Chairman of the institution and the team of psychologists decided that it should be a nature scene in their dining space. It was a large scale mural portraying the mountains, lake and woods. The results was that people with disabilities didn't want to leave the premises once they saw the entire mural finished. It couldn't make me happier.





The other project was inspired by the scenes from Alice in Wonderland as children with disabilities and orphans needed something magical to inspire them every day. I wanted to give them an enchanting space that will make them forget about their issues. They got three murals in the kitchen, dinning space and living room. Not only were the kids happy and enthusiastic but also the staff. They didn't want our team to leave because we managed to add life to the space and cheer everybody up. For an artist, it was a heart fulfilling experience.


Special thanks to all the people that donated money and clothes to both the institutions, to the great staff, public media and the city that supported the project financially. These were the most inspiring projects from all I did and I hope there will be more like this.

It is possible for people with disabilities to enjoy art, therefore, to all the artists out there, use your talent and time to inspire people and make them happy. There is always time for some good deeds.

 © 2020 by Milica Da Costa. All Rights Reserved.

  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Facebook

Milica Da Costa