ABLE Assembly: Arts Better the Lives of Everyone 2021 | Theme: Intersectionality, Disability, and Arts Education ABLE Assembly: Arts Better the Lives of Everyone 2021 | Theme: Intersectionality, Disability, and Arts Education

Pre-recorded 20-minute Session: Figure On Diversity: Benefits of Life Drawing and Representation in Arts Education

- EDT
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Angela DeCarlis
Figure on Diversity, Founder and Director

Angela DeCarlis is pursuing their MFA at the University of Florida's School of Art + Art History. They are a figurative painter, a former figure model, an instructor of life drawing classes, queer, and invisibly disabled. Based on these experiences they founded   Figure On Diversity in an effort to make life drawing's benefits more accessible to everyone.


The artistic practices of Figure Modeling and Life Drawing each come with benefits, particularly regarding positive body perception. Models report attitudes which demonstrate their own "corporeal empowerment," and studies suggest that these advantages can be reaped second-hand, through the practice of drawing a model.

But who has access to these benefits? In Boston, the figure modeling community is comprised predominantly of white, cisgender, thin/athletic, and able-bodied models. This is a problem not only for art students who do not share physical affinity with models, but also in terms of representation more broadly. By limiting the bodies seen in artwork and in our students' education, we are reinforcing the harmful idea that only some bodies are aesthetically worthy of representation.

 Through workshops designed to increase figure modeling's accessibility to people belonging to marginalized demographics, we hope to expand the reach of modeling's benefits to everyone in the classroom, and beyond.

Looking to dive deeper into the content of the session? Check out these supporting materials: