Utopia: Selected works from the CoSpire Art Initiative

January  25 – March 23, 2024

Joonsang Yoon, Untitled, 2023, acrylic paint on canvas, 16 x 20 inches

Opening Reception: Thursday, January 25, 2024, 4:30–7:30pm

The Yeh Art Gallery at St. John's University proudly presents Utopia: Selected works from the CoSpire Art Initiative, a debut exhibition showcasing artwork and sketchbooks from the CoSpire Art Initiative, an artists' cooperative dedicated to empowering and helping young artists with disabilities. Featured artists include William Choe, Diana Choi, Jason Fallis, Steven Feng, Samuel Ho, Jean Hee Kim, Jennifer Kim, Arnold Lee, Daniel Park, and Joonsang Yoon. The exhibition invites viewers to explore the vast inner worlds created by this group of young artists who navigate a society which offers limited imagined possibilities for their community.

The CoSpire Art Initiative, a program within CIDA (Community Inclusion & Development Alliance) is based in Bayside, Queens, and was founded as a platform to address the underrepresentation of artists with disabilities in the artistic community. This artists' cooperative provides a space for mutual support, skill development, and the showcase of their artistic works. CIDA is a non-Profit organization committed to increasing equity and inclusion opportunities for individuals with diverse needs, including disabilities, language barriers, and socioeconomic challenges. Through advocacy, community programs, and workforce development projects such as the Art Initiative, CIDA strives to build a discrimination-free society where every individual can thrive.

Utopia prompts visitors to contemplate the significance of creating inner worlds that either reflect, distort, or enhance aspects of reality. The exhibition is a collective endeavor that delves into the creative minds of these artists, questioning the boundaries between escapism and artmaking. For these young artists, as they face numerous challenges throughout their lives, crafting their own utopias through artwork becomes a powerful act of envisioning, dreaming and realizing their own futures.

Utopia: Selected works from the CoSpire Art Initiative
is organized by Max Warsh, Director of the Yeh Art Gallery, St. John’s University in collaboration with the team at CIDA. Special thanks to Dr. Ishita Khemka, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Special Education, St. John’s University for her guidance on this project.