By Abby Braithwaite
The All Born (In) photo gallery has had quite a tour around the area since the January debut at OHSU. The banners have spent three days at the Legislative Building in Olympia, WA, working to build awareness around some important bills in their winter legislative session. The images also made a trip to the capitol in Salem to kick off the Developmental Disability Awareness Month activities. They spent a day at Lloyd Center at a Multnomah County event promoting child and family health, and they have appeared at multiple conferences around the area. At our All Born (In) conference in April they helped set the tone for the more than 200 conference attendees, and over the weekend of May 29th they traveled to Bend for the state-wide developmental disabilities Mega-Conference. We have more plans in store for them, and we are in the process of expanding the gallery with another five or six banners. We are also starting to pull the funding and sponsorship together to put out a 2009 All Born (In) calendar using these gorgeous images.
The photo project provided us with a chance to meet many new people, and is an excellent example of how we can bring the larger community into our work. The project started several years ago, when parent Tacee Webb approached us with the idea of making a calendar. Tacee introduced us to photographer Jodi Collins, of Urban Photography. Jodi generously donated her time and artistry to the original DS Now calendar of 2005, and was eager to work with us again in the spring of 2007, when we began shooting for the ABI exhibit. In December of 2007 we met graphic designer Alex Harris, who in turn introduced us to Bryan Dalton. These two young graphic designers dedicated an incredible amount of time and energy to turn Jodi’s beautiful photos into the larger-than-life banners that make up our awareness photo gallery.
When Jodi became a mom of two beautiful little babies in January of this year (congrats, Jodi!) we decided to give her a bit of a break, and were connected with Joshua Dommermuth of Quixotic Images, and he, together with graphic designer Giuseppe Lipari, is helping us expand our gallery with more images.
Additionally, the connections we made with project sponsors illustrate the expansion of our community. The project started with a seed grant from Hanna Andersson, which was matched by OHSU, TigerStop, and the MESD. Without the trust and generosity of these businesses and organizations, we never could have gotten off the ground.
As the banners travel around Oregon and Washington, they serve as a powerful introduction to our group and the work that we do to promote greater awareness of the value of all individuals. Our community continues to grow as more people have the opportunity to view the photo gallery. And now, as you read in the Letter From the Board, we are receiving some exciting recognition from some area agencies for the work.
We are also beginning work on a 2009 calendar, featuring the beautiful images from the photo gallery. It is our hope that we can raise enough money through sponsorship to produce the calendar. Through the calendar sales we will both raise money for next year’s conference, and continue to grow the reach of these images, allowing them to influence and inspire an ever-broadening audience.
It is very exciting to be moving forward with this exciting awareness work, and to be recognized for our efforts, but without the help and support of our entire and ever-expanding community, the photo exhibit could not have happened. So, from all of the Board of the NWDSA, and all of our families, we send a heartfelt thank you to those who helped us with this exciting work. Thank you for joining our community.