Supporting Individual Artists Coffee Chat: Supporting Artists with Disabilities

Recorded On: 08/06/2019


About this Conversation

Supporting Individual Artists Coffee Chat

Supporting Artists with Disabilities

Americans for the Arts is excited to bring you a monthly series of informal discussions about supporting individual artists. As part of Americans for the Arts ongoing program, Arts Administrators Essentials: Supporting Individual Artists, these monthly "Coffee Chats" are your opportunity to hear from individuals and organizations in the arts and culture field that support individual artists as part of their everyday work. Each month, we will bring you a new topic to support your work with artists. Our topic for this month will be about supporting artists with disabilities.

How can you support artists with disabilities?

Join Judith Smith, Founder and Director Emerita of AXIS Dance Company, as she discusses strategies for your organization to ready itself to be more inclusive to people with disabilities; how you can support disabled artists in your programming and hiring processes; as well as what resources are available to support disabled artists. 

This project is supported in part by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation.


Judith Smith

Founding Member and Artistic Director Emerita, AXIS Dance Company

Judith Smith, Founding Member and Artistic Director Emerita of AXIS Dance Company, is one of the world’s driving forces in physically integrated dance. She was born and raised in the mountains of Colorado. Prior to becoming disabled in a car accident at age 17 in 1977, Judith was a champion equestrian. She transferred her passion for riding to dance after discovering contact improvisation in 1983. Judith helped launch AXIS in 1987 and she grew the Company to be the nation’s leading physically integrated dance ensemble. She has left an amazing legacy and vision for the future of AXIS and integrated dance.

Her advocacy and equity work led to the first-ever National Convening on the Future of Physically Integrated Dance in the USA, followed by six regional town halls throughout the country in 2016. This project, supported by the prestigious Doris Duke Charitable Foundation National Project Program, culminated in an extensive report and the launch of the AXIS Artistic Advancement Platform to Advance Artistry, Opportunity and Equity for Dancers with Disabilities. She has been instrumental in the creation of the Dance/USA Disability and Dance Affinity Group and co-chairs the group.

Judith is currently working as an independent consultant in dance and disability. She is an activist for the environment, animals and people with disabilities. She gardens for pollinators, birdwatches, raises butterflies and is involved in thoroughbred racehorse rescue and adaptive carriage driving.


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Supporting Individual Artists Coffee Chat: Supporting Artists with Disabilities