Seeing Through a New Lens: LADD Artists Collaborate with Happen Inc. on Film Festival Art

March 30, 2021

An image of colorful abstract art that says "A New Lens On Life" and "OTR International Film Festival 2021"
The winning design chosen for the OTR International Film Festival's 2021 theme.

The LADD community has never been short on talent or creativity. In fact, many LADD artists have made a name for themselves through regional art fairs, gallery shows, Visionaries and Voices and other programs.

Their most recent collective project involved designing art for the Over-The-Rhine International Film Festival, organized by LADD and the nation’s first diversity film festival led by the disability community. The artists – including Marc Fried, Margot Wayne, Kathleen Sheil, Neil Dignan, Jason Harris, Josh Meyer and Jenny Crowe – collaborated with local community program Happen Inc. Breadwinners to create art for the festival’s 2021 theme, “A New Lens On Life.”

“I recognize the rights of all peoples with disabilities and wanted to showcase that with my own ideas and thought this theme would do that,” said Crowe, who draws inspiration from her gardening, everyday objects and artist Cedric Michael Cox. “I had done abstract work in the past but when we come together through different backgrounds and abilities, we really can see through a new lens.”

Teens from Happen Inc. Breadwinners, an earn-and-learn program where participants meet every week to share a meal and design and print their own t-shirts, met with LADD artists over three sessions to create five different designs representing the theme. The theme is a nod to the transformation many have gone through over the past year and the ability to discover new perspectives through film.

“Coming up with the design was pretty difficult, but we were able to get on Zoom calls with LADD artists and came up with rough sketches after hearing people’s ideas,” said Breadwinners participant Emmy. 

Designs illustrated colorful cameras, an eagle rising, a sunflower growing with a film lens at its center, and a person’s hands framing a shot. 

“After that, we corrected and merged some designs, sent them over and the OTR Film Fest Marketing Committee selected a beautiful fun and colorful design,” Emmy said. “The design we used was inspired by people’s creative interests and favorite colors and patterns.”

The design was then printed on t-shirts, bags and stickers by the Breadwinners and sold as part of the festival’s recent virtual event, “A Celebration of Inclusion in Film & Media.” The Breadwinners earned money for their work and a portion of the proceeds also provided support for community identified needs. The apparel is also currently available for sale here.  

“Making shirts is fascinating and the experience with LADD was very unique and awesome and we learned a lot,” Emmy said. “I am so grateful to have been a part of this event.”

The OTR International Film Festival will take place July 8-11, 2021, in Cincinnati. Visit to learn more and purchase early bird passes.

Special thanks to Happen Inc. Breadwinners:

  • Toby Crumpley
  • Tianna Hill
  • Alice Lyons Siler
  • Emmy Reising