hello from emily sara

My name is Emily Sara. I’m a disabled artist, designer, and educator that has started up ‘cripple.’ Cripple is a publishing initiative that exclusively supports the endeavors of disabled artists and designers.


What do you mean by publishing initiative? What does cripple do?


Cripple does many things as a publishing initiative. Cripple had a soft launch in the late fall of 2020 with an aim to support the work of disabled artists and designers. One part of the publishing initiative is to sell the work of disabled artists and designers through the cripple platform. 


Part of cripple’ initiative will be a collaborative approach with disabled artists and designers. So, for instance, if a disabled artist has a particular vision but without the funds or physical capacity to put together their concept—cripple will pay that artist for their work while also connecting and paying other disabled designers/artists/fabricators to assemble their ideas.


The second part of cripple is that we will be holding online discussions and virtual presentations by disability advocates, disabled artists and designers on a semi-regular basis (we say semi-regular because life happens and hard deadlines and schedules are not very disability friendly). Cripple wants to do this because not all art/design is printable or able to be distributed as physical objects. Some art is poetry, some art is talking about history, some art is holding a discussion… and we believe that these artists and designers should get paid for their work as well. Future virtual get togethers will also be open to anyone (disabled and non-disabled), accessible and will be free to the general public. 


Why should I support disabled artists/designers? 


Disabled artists/designers have a higher cost of living. Direct costs like medical care put a larger financial burden on the disabled. Additionally, the disabled often have less “working hours,” if they are able to work at all. Indirect costs like discrimination in the workplace are another financial barrier. It’s also legal to pay the disabled below minimum wage in the united states...


Some disabled individuals are also bound to financial caps because of the state/federal benefits they receive. While this support is great, it’s also forced poverty in that the amount is rarely livable and you have to be careful to never make over a certain monetary threshold. This also means that disabled artists/designers cannot often apply for grants or other funding because the single lump sum would essentially shut off their financial benefits as well as impact their health insurance coverage.


If in the scenario a disabled individual has a cap on their income, cripple will work with the artist so that they can still receive resources and it won’t negatively impact their livelihood. An example of this would be purchasing supplies for an artist directly rather than sending money and then having the artist purchase the supplies themselves. Taking on these tasks, when needed, also lessens the burden placed on an artist/designer who may have less physical capacity at a given time. 


For more info on the economic burdens of the disabled, take a look at the discussion surrounding #criptax on twitter. 


Why should I support disabled artists & designers right now?


Covid-19 has dramatically impacted the resources of many across the globe but especially those who are disabled and even more so those who are both disabled and Black, Indigenous, POC and LGBTQIA+. A lot of disabled individuals are considered “high risk” and have had to be vigilant about being home 24/7 which drives up one’s cost of living whether it be food delivery or missed medical care (which leads to further complications). 


Also, to put it bluntly, we’re going to have a lot more disabled individuals join the ranks after our current pandemic. Whether it’s through supporting cripple or another disability-centric organization, please be sure to make supporting the disabled a part of your regular community care (if you have the financial capacity to do so). 


Why the name cripple—isn't that offensive?


No. The word cripple has been reclaimed by the disability community.


What else does cripple believe in?


Cripple believes in creating space for disabled artists and designers. We believe in all diseases, disorders, and afflictions—whether they are mental, physical, visible, invisible, diagnosed, misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. We embrace naps, stimming, canes, wheelchairs, braces, meds (natural and prescribed), laying down while on zooms and so much more. Cripple is mostly online (with a smattering of book fairs) because that’s a big part of the disability community in 2021. Also, cripple really wants to see more representation in the arts. 


The disabled barely make up a very  small fraction of commercially represented artists and designers and frankly, that’s really fucked up. 


Are you going to carry more artists?


Yes. We have a few artists’ work available and more is currently underway. As we apply for grants and additional funding we are looking forward to be expanding in the near future. 


Have any questions? 

We’d love to chat (email us at studio@cripple.info). You can also follow our IG account  if you want updates on future artist/designer lectures, releases and general enthusiasm in, around, and for everything disabled in the arts.