Exploring Apple’s built-in accessibility features. Photo: Courtesy of Today at Apple

In an increasingly digital society, it’s quite easy to overlook the over one billion people alive today who have disabilities or impairments which prevent them from being able to actively participate. In honour of Global Accessibility Awareness Day this past week, Today at Apple has once again partnered with Singapore-based inclusive arts movement Superhero Me for its ‘Grow With Creativity’ series, presenting in-store sessions utilising the iPad and iPhone for creative projects ranging from textile art to augmented reality. Running from now til mid-June, readers of all ages are welcome to sign up for these fun, creative sessions at Apple Stores across Singapore, and learn more about how Apple is paving the way for a more accessible digital future for all by incorporating more built-in accessibility features in its products.

As part of the series, Today at Apple is also spotlighting six pairs of artists and children with different abilities who have embarked on a six-month creative journey together through GROW, an inclusive arts programme by Superhero Me. Through the programme, kids will learn how to expand their creative horizons by ideating and producing beautiful projects using Apple apps and products like Procreate and AR Makr. BAZAAR took the time to interview two of the programme’s mentors, textile artist Cheryl Tan and singer-songwriter Krysta Joy, about their projects.

Related article: Apple Fall 2022 Keynote: iPhone 14, Apple Watch Ultra, AirPods Pro With H2 And More

Textile artist and founder of craft-centric brand Beadbadwolf Cheryl Tan with her mentee, 13-year-old Ashley Ang from Pathlight School. The two are collaborating on their own digital jacket design which one can ‘wear’ in AR, using Apple Pencil and Procreate. Photo: Courtesy of Today at Apple

What excites you about working with Today at Apple for the Grow with Creativity series and what prompted your decision to work with them?

CT: Getting to share about craft and create something together was the highlight! Sharing about craft has been the motivation of all that I have done through my exploration as a Textile Artist. Craft really is for anyone and everyone and this series/collaboration makes it THE ultimate mission to strengthen the inclusivity message – I felt I mustn’t miss it!

KJ: I believe art is such an empowering tool and form of expression that is so unique to every individual. Getting paired with such a gem of a person who experiences life so differently from me is an experience worth being excited about! I jumped at it immediately after learning about the opportunity and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Singer-songwriter, producer and radio DJ Krysta Joy with her mentee, 13-year-old Javier Yeo from Rainbow Centre. The two are working on writing a catchy jingle using GarageBand. Photo: Courtesy of Today at Apple

What makes Global Accessibility Awareness Day personally important to you, and how do you hope this project will advance the cause?

CT: The key of this project is to spread awareness, and personally this starts from my own household first and foremost. I have always found it hard to talk about this subject to my kids when they have curious questions about disability. This project not only helps me be more able to talk to them about it, but also hopefully helps start better conversations around the community.

KJ: G.A.A.D is important to me because there is a whole community that has been at a disadvantage in life not because they are disabled, but because we as a society are unable to meet their needs due to various reasons. I believe that the most glaring one is that we are unaware and ignorant towards this community, and I hope this project will advance the cause by broadening society’s understanding of how much more could be accomplished if we worked together to make life accessible to people from all walks of life. 

Cheryl and Ashley work together on a project drawing inspiration from Ashley’s painting of animals and flowers. Photo: Courtesy of Today at Apple

Let’s talk about the ever-evolving relationship between art and technology. Do you find that technology has expanded your own horizons as an artist? What new forms of digital art – or rather, art in the digital space – do you hope to see in the future? How does this tie in with the ongoing efforts to make art itself, in all its forms, more accessible?

CT: Technology gives art a whole new medium of possibilities and that itself is exciting, even for me as an artist. Trying new mediums is a part of my exploration as an artist, that is necessary yet groundbreaking. I hope to see more digital art forms that create experiences that are unique and excites people to create art themselves. And, digital art forms that inspires and includes anyone and everyone.

KJ: Thanks to ever-advancing technology, I am able to create art in more ways than I could ever imagine myself. I am always grateful for Digital Audio Workstations that help me to record the music that I create, and create music that I would not be able to record. I hope to see more tools and gadgets being created to assist creatives with disabilities and I am so impressed by the tools I have already been introduced to by my partner Javier! I am excited to see more options come along the way and will also make an effort to create accessible alternatives in my studio for the work that I do. Accessibility doesn’t have to look fancy and expensive, it just has to look like being intentional with the resources you already have at hand to bridge the gaps.