When representatives from ReelAbilities visited Springer School and Center in November, Upper School student Keelin Ware had no idea that in February he’d be enjoying lunch at the Hyatt Regency with Academy Award Winner Marlee Matlin and actor Danny Woodburn, and being awarded a check for $500.
ReelAbilities is an advocacy group that hosts film festivals around the country with a mission to promote awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities. The luncheon Ware attended on February 27, along with his parents and Springer art teacher Corrinne Thaler, marked the kickoff for this year’s ReelAbilities Cincinnati festival.
Ware received his award for First Place in the ReelAbilities “Different, Like You” art and poetry contest. To be considered, entries were to address stereotypes, point out social stigma, raise questions and/or help explore the meanings of ability and disability in any context, all while focusing on our universal diversity. Thaler set the Springer students the challenge of creating a self-portrait in the style of an established artist.
“I was surprised and happy to win the contest,” said Ware, a resident of North College Hill. “I liked meeting Marlee Matlin and Danny Woodburn. Especially Danny – he was funny!” Ware’s artwork is in acrylic paint on paper.
Thaler submitted the students’ self-portraits to the Different, Like You contest, and the organizers liked what they saw so much that many of them were published in a book, “Different, Like You” with Keelin’s portrait on the cover.” ReelAbilities will give the book away, and a copy will be available for viewing in the school library.