Kaila Grenier, Kaila Grenier, Joseph Ott, Hailee Kulich, Monica Morrison, Claire Gallagher
For individuals with disabilities, engaging in the arts provides an opportunity to express emotions they may not be able to communicate otherwise and allows for socialization between members of the community. However, access to commercially available adaptive art technologies can be costly, especially for organizations with minimal resources. Over the last year, the A.R.T. team observed and spoke with participants in art classes at Community Living and Support Services (CLASS) in Pittsburgh, PA. Through our interactions, we observed that individuals had difficulty with the precision and control required to dip a paintbrush, limited range of motion made it difficult to access all areas of the canvas, and spastic upper body movements often caused accidental canvas movements. In order to fully address the identified needs, we developed a paint container holder and a canvas control system. The combination of systems assists with the acquisition of paint while increasing access to and improving the stability of the canvas, thereby fostering user independence. The low cost of the systems allows for increased accessibility while not putting a financial burden on CLASS or the user. Recreational assistive technology is typically not covered through funding, thus, stakeholders require a system that is both effective for all individuals and affordable. By creating a system of devices that meet these criteria, organizations can have greater impact on all participants regardless of the artist’s capabilities.