Presence is Progress is a community arts project first proposed by Park McArthur in January 2010. The Public Arts Office of the Town of Chapel Hill awarded Park a generous grant that is helping make this project possible.
As a group of people whose rights to work, attend school, and participate in civic life were only secured with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, people have been segregated and valued according to mobility for a long time. In addition to legislation that insists on barrier-free infrastructure, it is thanks to improvements in equipment technology and a decrease in the practice of institutionalization that people with disabilities have access to public spaces, in increasingly independent ways. Presence is Progress‘s mobilizations demonstrate publicly that mobility is not synonymous with walking. Photographs of the mobilizations add to our ideas of what progress looks like.
As a project about acknowledging, celebrating, and insisting on continued advancement for people with disabilities, Presence is Progress is about specific relationships. These relationships involve: 1. the participants themselves 2. the participants and the architecture and infrastructure they engage, negotiate, or change in the course of the mobilizations 3. the participants and the observers who witness the mobilizations 4. the viewers who experience photographic and written documentation of Presence is Progress in exhibition spaces.