manny pic mountain

Art by Manny Ravelo

The arts are a part of every culture.  Painting, music, theatre, literature, poetry and much more represent the challenges, changes, successes, failures and history they have lived through.  The arts also help to convey the hopes and dreams a culture aspires to, a peek into the future they work at creating every day.   Each person in a society has a story to tell and the arts are a way of sharing what is personal, individual and lived from that person’s perspective.  People living with developmental disabilities have stories of their own, and the arts are a way for those stories to come alive.

Often times, what the arts give a person is a voice, but not always the one that emanates from their mouth.  Through the arts, people with developmental disabilities can tell their stories from their perspectives.  As a group once marginalized by society, it is a powerful tool for sharing the struggles and successes they encounter in their daily lives.  Whether it is literature or a drawing created by them, or with the help of another, they are able to express themselves and their experiences.

The arts also provide an opportunity for them to form new community attachments, to develop a sense of camaraderie as they join together to reach a common goal.  Semiahmoo House Society provides such a venue for this every year in their Extravaganza Production.  It is a time for the performers to focus, together, on a common goal and an opportunity for them to express their creativity.  The event features singing, dancing and theatre performed by people with various developmental disabilities, a chance for them to show their talents and skills.

Finally, and most importantly, the arts are inclusive.  You do not need to be a great artist, actor or writer. You just have to have a passion to try.


By Joanna Redfern, Volunteer Blogger

For more information about Joanna, please go to:

Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community. 

The Semiahmoo Foundation, located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.

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