Bates Technical College will feature internationally-known deaf artist Ann Silver at the annual Disability Awareness Day on Thursday, Oct. 24, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The free and open-to-the-public event will be held at the college’s Downtown Campus Auditorium, 1101 S Yakima Ave., in Tacoma.

Born genetically deaf into a hearing family in Seattle, Silver grew up during a time when professional support services did not exist in public schools. She has said that her childhood education was 90 percent guesswork and 10 percent art. Silver has pushed for recognition and inclusion of deaf art as both a valid path for academic study and an art genre. The self-taught artist has also worked on policy analysis and identifying barriers for various agencies, including the Washington State Human Rights Commission. Silver will speak about how she fought against discrimination to reclaim identity, language, culture and traditions.

“We are pleased to welcome artist Ann Silver to our annual Disability Awareness Day,” said Juliette Kern, manager of student activities. “This popular event is designed to help participants expand their understanding of the issues surrounding disabilities and raise awareness of the celebrations and challenges individuals with disabilities experience.”

Silver holds a Bachelor’s Degree in commercial art and a Master’s Degree in deafness rehabilitation. Along with Betty G. Miller and Harry R. Williams, she was one of the founding members of the Washington DC-based Deaf Art Movement (DAM) of the 1960s and 1970s.

About 56.7 million people — 19 percent of the U.S. population — had some level of disability in 2010, with more than half of them reporting the disability was severe, according to a 2012 U.S. Census Bureau report. Locally, Bates’ Disability Support Services office serves nearly 200 students annually.

The college’s Associated Student Government will offer a free lunch for students with a valid Bates student ID.

Visit www.BatesTech.edu for more information, or call 253.680.7178 to learn more about this free community event.

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