It is now 30 years that Sant’Egidio is committed to persons with disabilities in Italy and Europe. Sant’Egidio’s Arts Labs began in 1985 to meet the educational needs of persons with mental disabilities who were prevented access to integrated educational careers. In the Arts Labs new artistic techniques, fresh openness to the world, first-hand relations and communications, innovative skills have been experimented and developed.
As a consequence, hundreds of people became able to communicate and express themselves through their own artistic code. All those involved, disabled and non-disabled, showed an amazing awareness about the challenges of reality, by developing their own thinking and global perspective.
Simonetta Lux, an art critic who has been mentoring the above mentioned experience for a long time, defined the actions of the artists of the Arts Labs of Sant’Egidio, “an impressive action dealing with relations where individual artworks become real and are related to knowledge and to the judgment process targeting oneself and the others”. Recently, the Arts Labs opened their doors to contemporary artists. This unique joint venture triggered a process of co-development and participation involving both disabled and contemporary artists, synergizing and strengthening the action of the labs to support the cultural and social change of the whole world, setting creativity free.