WASHINGTON, D.C. - The International Children's Advisory Network, Inc. (iCAN) shared an opportunity a few months ago to all youth members to participate in the annual Rare Artist contest.
From the EveryLife Foundation: The Rare Artist Program was established in 2010 to exhibit the unique gifts of individuals with, or affiliated with, a rare disease to tell their story through art. Now in year 11, the Rare Artist Program is focused on providing a national platform for artists to advocate through visual artwork and powerful artist statements. Rare Artist finalists participate in individualized artist-to-advocate coaching to strengthen their advocacy voice. Rare Artist awardees are presented with checks and invited to speak during Rare Disease Week on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Their artwork is showcased throughout the year at various patient and biopharmaceutical conferences, displayed at the Rare Hub, social media, and website posts.
This year, iCAN's own KID Michigan member, Olivia Ohmer, submitted art to depict her journey of living with multiple autoimmune conditions; including a rare disorder known as Chronic Solar Urticaria, an allergy to the sun.
Because all of Olivia's conditions are invisible, she choose to highlight the understanding that an individual's medical journey is an important one, effecting more people than we may think. Her piece entitled, "Rare, Together" depicts the global view that society is connected together by medical conditions whether visible or not.
From Olivia: My mother always taught me how important it is in life to understand that everybody’s got something. It doesn't matter how old, young, tall, short, or race you are to be given the diagnosis of a rare disease. However, it also shouldn't matter in one’s ability to be treated as an equal in both the medical community and society as a whole. You may notice some people pictured in my drawing with physical differences, however, there also are several who you may not see any differences in. In my drawing, I worked to highlight the differences in our rare disease community by showing the eye both visible and invisible diseases. Being a person with invisible diseases, this topic was crucially important to me, and I wanted the drawing to show what our real world looks like. While one may be special and have a rare disease, in the World as a whole, we are rare together.
To help spread awareness of supporting our young artists and to vote for Olivia during the month of October, please visit: www.RareArtist.org
Directions on How-To vote, visit www.RareArtist.org and complete registration.* You can register using your phone number or email.
*Registration verifies that each person is voting once. You will be prompted to verify your email or phone number to vote.
Once you are logged in, you will see the top 20 finalists and can select your favorite pieces.
Click on any artwork to open the artist’s profile. In the artist profile, you can learn more about them, including their name, rare disease, and artist statement (their story).
To view a larger image of the artwork, click on the artwork again in the artist profile.
To vote for a piece, click the purple “vote” box under the artwork.
You may vote for 12 pieces total, with a maximum of 3 votes per age group. You can only vote for each art piece one time.
You may log in at any point during October to view your votes. Votes are not publicly displayed. Awardees will be announced the second week of November.