Third Annual Tangled on Tour

By Tonya Muchano

Tangled Arts + Disability’s touring show Tangled on Tour is back this month for their third annual exhibition, running May 5 and 6 at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery and In Common resto-bar. The festival showcases local and international professional artists with disabilities. Organizer Zoe Gordon explains that “Tangled on Tour is a celebration of film, visual arts, and performing arts by professional artists with disabilities. It is about recognizing the excellence that exists among artists with disabilities, celebrating diversity, and understanding barriers.” It’s also about making art truly accessible for all spectators. For example, Gordon notes that all events are free, and there will be audio captioning of films, captioning of the musical performance, barrier-free locations, and attendants to assist people as needed.

The tour is part of a three-year project spearheaded by Tangled Arts + Disability, a Toronto-based, artist-run organization that is dedicated to the advancement of artists with disabilities, and to increasing access to arts and culture for all. This is the third and final year of the tour, which also collaborates to host shows in London, Ottawa, and Peterborough. Organizers here in Thunder Bay are hoping they will be able to continue the event here independently. Over the past few years Gordon says they have “developed cool collaborations between service providers, arts organizations, and partners in the community.” She explains that what’s needed now is more local leadership in order to maintain the momentum and carry the event into the future.

The exhibition begins on Friday May 5 with an art opening at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. The opening includes Toronto-based artist melannie g campbell’s show Point of Origin, which is part of Tangled Arts’ 2016-2017 gallery season. The show is a collection of mixed media works that examine “dynamic embodied relationships—those between trauma and fibromyalgia, between capitalism and ableism, between legacy and wisdom, between Blackness and life, between freedom and place, and between dreaming and staying woke.”

On Saturday at In Common there will be a screening of a series of short films that cover diverse issues across multiple disabilities. The

Duluth violinist and songwriter Gaelynn Lea. Lea was born with osteogenesis imperfecta and is also an active advocate for disability awareness—she plays at In Common on Saturday, May 6.

festival concludes with a concert by Duluth violinist and songwriter Gaelynn Lea, whose unique blend of traditional and modern techniques—including a looping pedal—produces layered, symphonic soundscapes that support her haunting lyrics.

Lea was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease, and is also an active advocate and public speaker for disability awareness. This will be Lea’s first show in Canada since she began playing violin 23 years ago, and her first time back to Thunder Bay since she was a child. “[Tangled on Tour] is a neat concept, I’m excited to meet the people involved,” explains Lea. “Most of my shows are in regular clubs so I’m excited to do something with a direct connection to the disability arts community, and meeting new people who care about the same things.”