Sue's Scrapbook

Organization Name:
Little City Foundation Center for the Arts
City & State:
Describe your creative piece – what is it and what has it been used for, and why is it innovative?
"Sue’s Scrapbook" is an autobiographical website that was more than four years in the making. It was created at Little City Foundation’s Center for the Arts, which provides individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to explore their creative talents while promoting a sense of accomplishment and empowerment through the arts. Sue Saltsberg, who has cognitive disabilities and is visually impaired, wanted to share her personal life story with as many people as possible, with the hope of being an inspiration to others who face challenges in their lives. Sue’s intention was to create a virtual scrapbook using photos and clippings she and her family had saved. Sue also wanted to write the story in her own hand, rather than use generated text. Most of all, she wanted the “scrapbook” to be creative and simple.
What issue or problem were you working to address with this piece?
Her idea was an exciting concept, but there was one problem: she had never used a computer. Undaunted, and with support from Center staff, Sue began slowly by learning basic use of the mouse and keyboard, gradually working her way up to simple word processing. As she began creating and writing the storyline, Sue also took on the tasks of learning how to scan photos, newspaper articles and her handwritten story. She learned how to use PhotoShop to edit, crop and lay out all of the pieces in the scrapbook. In fact, the entire scrapbook is a series of jpeg files created in PhotoShop and finally formatted in Dreamweaver. Because she could only devote about an hour a week to the project, her efforts seemed to take on a life of their own. No matter what challenges she faced, including her own disabilities, Sue kept plugging away, displaying perseverance, dedication and a good-natured spirit.
How has your submission successfully impacted your organization’s ability to solve this issue/problem?
Through her work in the Center for the Arts and the creation of "Sue’s Scrapbook", Sue is an inspiration to many other people with disabilities who have learned to use this media technology to share their lives and talents. Their combined efforts are enriching not only their lives, but many people around them, whether they have a disability or not. Today, "Sue’s Scrapbook" and the other artists’ work are impacting audiences literally around the world. This type of access allows others to see that the artist’s experiences should be understood for its unique view of life, humor and wealth of insights presented, and not solely through the lens of a person with a disability. As the artists like to say, “Creativity has no disability.”