Universal Themes in Art Spark Connections

WITF The SparkThe universal themes in art have a powerful way of building connections and helping people across the world find commonalities. On November 2, Genevieve Fitzgibbon, Deputy Director for Keystone Human Services International, joined Ambassador Kent Logsdon, US Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, and artist Reina Wooden, known as Reina 76, on WITF The Spark with Aniya Faulcon.

Reina’s Pennsylvania-themed artwork is currently hanging in the US Ambassador’s Residence in Moldova.

“Reina 76’s work spoke to us and our work that we’re doing in the Republic of Moldova,” said Ambassador Logsdon, “where the United States is working very hard to support a government that is looking to reform and support democracy. So many of the themes resonated with us here.”

The themes of her work—freedom, choice, independence, and finding your voice—also speak to the work Keystone Human Services is doing in Moldova, as well as the United States and India, to build inclusive communities where the rights of people with disability are recognized and honored and people are supported to live independently in the community.

“Reina’s artwork is a beautiful example of the human experience,” said Genevieve. “Those themes and art’s ability to build connections between people encourage us to recognize our responsibility to engage in the community.”

WITF The SparkFor the past 20 years, Keystone Moldova has been working toward the social inclusion of people with disability across all aspects of life and society. Our focus has been on alternatives to institutionalization and all of the community building that goes along with it—inclusive social policies and legal framework, developing community-based services, inclusive education, and inclusive employment. We also work to change public attitudes about people with disability, working with the media, public authorities, and civil society organizations, as well as self-advocates, to make sure people with disability are respected and have full access to exercise their rights.

“Keystone is an organization that supports people with disability to live inclusive lives of their choice, supported in the most unrestrictive way possible, to make sure that they have access to lives of their choice, to the good things in life, and to the freedoms and access to community that all of us appreciate and yearn for,” said Genevieve.

“I want my artwork to empower people,” said Reina. “It shows independence. It shows creativity. It’s okay to have a voice and that’s what I want to convey through all of my art pieces, that you have to be true to yourself.”

We had the opportunity to view her artwork at the US Ambassador’s Residence in August when we met with Ambassador Logsdon and members of the State Department to discuss the intersectionality of our work and our common goal of advancing human rights and ensuring people with disability are included in all aspects of society.

Listen to the program on The Spark