NDIS: Ipswich Artist Overcomes Disability Issues, Achieves Her Creative Goals

Having cerebral palsy and epilepsy hasn’t impeded Ipswich artist Deb Chilton’s creative pursuits and she could manage her work as an artist, mentor and business owner with the help of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). 

Deb, 52, has done solo exhibits and grew her two small businesses, Doodles and Dribble and Ignite Artists Network (formerly ArtISability), whilst living with a disability. She has also participated in a number of artistic events in the Ipswich community in the last 20 years.

Creating art has been Deb’s passion and she acknowledges the part her support workers from NDIS have contributed to sustaining her creative goals so she could run her business.

“My support workers help me obtain supplies to create artworks, offer support in the art studio, attend art galleries and hang art for my exhibitions.”

Through NDIS, Deb has also learned to master a few technological tools to promote her work on digital media. 

“A large part of my community access support is around my visual arts practice and building my brand,” she said. “It is no use doing an event or painting if I’m not going to use social media (to promote my business).

“In 2013, I founded ‘ArtISability’ (now called ‘Ignite Artists Network’), a professional development visual arts workshop program; the industry networks and skills I gained in building this program has enhanced my ability to coordinate small scale workshop programs.”

Photo Credit: Supplied

As she has elevated her work and overcame her disability issues, Deb was able to secure mainstream funding like the Art Queensland stART grant and a Regional Arts Development Fund grant for the Ipswich Artists in Residency Kindergarten Workshop Program. 

“I have an artist in residency booked for the second term at a local kindergarten, with funding for three kindys (as part of the) Ipswich Artist Emerging Program, to inject an understanding of what it means to be an artist as a career,” she said.

“Telling my own story can play a powerful role in creating social change; at the core of my heart is the fight for an inclusive arts culture.”

Deb received assistance to apply for and implement her NDIS funding from Carers Queensland’s NDIS Local Area Coordination Partner in the Community Program for the Ipswich region.

“My NDIS plan is written to enable me to grow in confidence and to allow me to self-direct, with the freedom to travel safely and confidently within Australia to continue the work I am passionate about.” 

Contact Carers Queensland via 1300 999 636 or cq.enquiries@ndis.gov.au to learn more about NDIS.