News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 5, 2013

The arts kick off Disability Awareness Month

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Roxanna Robertson did signing to the song “How Great Thou Art,” while Linda Allis did a dramatic reading, using excerpts from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

The light shined on these two stars Monday during a program called Celebrating Exceptional Abilities in the Arts at University Hall Theater.

It’s the second year for the program, intended to kick off Disability Awareness Month, which is March, and to showcase the talents of those in the community who have disabilities, said Megan Ramer, who helped coordinate it.

The event is sponsored by DAWG, the Disabilities Awareness Work Group.

The event featured two performances and an art show with about 40 works of art.

Robertson did signing as Donna McAdam of Bridges of Indiana sang, “How Great Thou Art.” She said she had fun being on stage.

“It was no different than being in church,” said Robertson, who does signing at West Terre Haute First Assembly of God Church.

She’s done signing for many years, she explained. “I like to [sign] and I taught myself how to do it at my school and I got a friend who is deaf,” she said.

Robertson teaches signing to others.

Karen Robertson, Roxanna’s mother, said, “We’re always proud of her, no matter what she does.” Her daughter also made an afghan for the art show.

Allis, 24, said she learned about Martin Luther King Jr. in her GED classes. She admired the way “he stood up for people’s rights.”

“I think I did okay,” she said of her performance.

A featured speaker was Evan Austin of Terre Haute, a swimmer who went to the 2012 Paralympic games in London. Mayor Duke Bennett proclaimed March as Disability Awareness Month.

The event was open to participants from a six-county area, and the event was funded by a grant from the city of Terre Haute.

“We always love to have more performers, but we understand people are busy,” Ramer said. Participation in the art show “grew exponentially this year.”

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (12-231-4235 or