With the major state changes in services for people with developmental disabilities (DD), Oregon is pushing provider organizations to fully integrate people that they serve into the community instead of funding programs that provide facilities just for people with DD, including existing arts programs. Though the changes will be positive for many, the core collaborators of Public Annex have worked closely with many wonderful and talented people who are now being directly affected by the initiatives that are closing the doors of such programs, and we care greatly about how this will affect people's lives.
We are artists, agriculturists, and activists concerned about accessibility issues which people with disabilities encounter, be it physical, social or economic. These concerns specifically inform our individual practices as artists and advocates and directly fuels our collective desire to dismantle current barriers that prevent all people from achieving their goals. The arts provides a unique access point for those with and without disability to collaborate, create and grow, which we see as a necessary step in creating a truly integrated society.
We desire to fully integrate our programming into the greater Portland community and help artists with disabilities to pursue urban farming and their artistic practice alongside other artists and farmers without disabilities. We formed Public Annex to pursue this mission at the beginning of 2016 and we launched full programming at the beginning in 2017.