Kaye Love: Inclusion, Belonging, and The Multi-Faceted Artist
Our May 2023 Artist of the Month is Kaye Love, MSSW/MBA, LPC. Kaye is a Psychotherapist, Life Coach, Interfaith Minister, Special Educator, Writer, Actor, Comedian, and more recently a Singer/Songwriter. For the last eight years she has been working with individuals with developmental and learning disabilities, including Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder, in Special Education and Vocational Rehabilitation. She provides spiritually sensitive counseling to clients who identify with diverse belief systems, including Buddhism, Christianity, Ethical Humanism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Wicca.
I first met Kaye in 2018 as a member of TILT Performance Group and have enjoyed working with her recently as a member of the Podcast Working Group here at Art Spark. Over the years I have come to respect her for her authenticity, her spirituality, and her willingness to take risks personally and creatively. She is a fervent Advocate for Epilepsy Awareness and for accessibility rights and inclusion of all people with disabilities, particularly in Churches and other Spiritual Communities.
Although she doesn’t mention it much, I happen to know this multi-talented woman is also a crafter, seamstress, and fine artist in her spare time, although I can’t imagine she has any spare time!
MsBoye: Hey Kaye, congratulations on being selected as the Art Spark Artist of the Month. Can you start by telling us who you are, where you’re from, and where do you live now?
Kaye: My full name is Janet Kaye Love; I go by Kaye. I work as a Professional Counselor and am a Minister in connection with the Interfaith Temple of New York. I have been living in Austin for about 15 years, which was a long-awaited return. I was born here and moved to Fort Worth when I was about 5 and came back for holidays and summer vacations.
I have been participating in Art Spark Texas since about 2008, starting with “Actual Lives” followed by “Opening Minds, Opening Doors”, “Stand Up for Mental Health”, “Speaking Advocates” and now the Podcast, “True Tales by Disability Advocates”.
MsBoye: One of the reasons we chose you for this month is that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. You mentioned being a part of the “Stand Up for Mental Health” project. Can you tell us about that experience?
Kaye: “Stand Up for Mental Health” was an incredible experience. It was an opportunity for all of us involved to bring some levity to a serious issue, while working to shatter stereotypes. I had been telling jokes about my seizures and “dain bramage” (a little humor there!) for years as a coping mechanism, so I got to put those to good use. I had the opportunity to poke some fun at the ridiculous responses people have to seizures and neurodiversity, as well as educate others on the dangers of fluorescent and flashing lights. I enjoyed the intense sense of community that formed among the participants as we worked as a team to polish each other’s performances, and the many hours of laughter that we shared. Dave Granier is an awesome instructor and mentor. The best part was the incredible joy and magic of facilitating laughter for 80 to 100 people at once!
MsBoye: I know you are passionate about the issue of awareness of disability inclusion in Spiritual Communities and Churches. What do Access, Ableism, and Inclusion mean to you?
Kaye: Inclusive access incorporates more than just entering a building, in addition it involves a welcoming, inclusive culture of equity. It incorporates all aspects of the physical environment (beyond the ADA basic recommendations) including lighting, scent/chemical exposure, sounds, educational materials and presentations, volunteer opportunities, employment opportunities, and philosophy/theology. When a community is truly inclusive it invites a sense of belonging through unconditional acceptance of people as Divinely Perfect just as they are. Ableism focuses on abilities instead of the Sacred Self. It minimizes the importance of considering the needs of all when designing community features. It limits the development of a sense of belonging for those whose needs are left out of the process.
MsBoye: What creative projects are you working on right now?
Kaye: I am currently preparing to deliver my talk “Discovering Grace by Moving through Grief” as the Sunday message at Trinity Church of Austin on May 21, followed by a workshop on Grief on May 28. This talk and/or workshop is available for other groups and congregations that are interested. When that is wrapped up, I will be continuing to explore opportunities for consulting with congregations who desire to increase accessibility, inclusion and belonging.
For the last two years I have been excited to be a part of the Art Spark Texas podcast working group. “True Tales by Disability Advocates” is now in its second season, and I have had the chance to participate in the production team and as a guest storyteller. It’s been fun learning how to podcast and meeting all the storytellers, and I’m looking forward to working on the 3rd season.
Presently, I am in rehearsals for the new version of Peter Pan called “PAN: A NEVERLAND FOR ALL”, devised by TILT Performance Group. Opening June 2nd and running through June 11th at First United Methodist Church of Austin, downtown. Seating is free and may be reserved at tiltperformance.org beginning May 15.
After 10 years shattering stereotypes in Austin, this will be TILT’s final production. Although I am very sad about the end of TILT, I know that new opportunities will arise for myself and the other talented company members to continue to perform and grow as actors.
MsBoye: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you? Or anything people would be surprised to know about you?
Kaye: People often ask me where I got my accent and are surprised to find out I learned to talk at The University of Texas at Austin. My parents were both students there and we lived on campus in married student housing.
MsBoye: Finally, if you had the attention of the whole world for five minutes, what would you say?
Kaye: In my life I am committed to remembering and practicing these simple philosophies:
- Normal is a bell curve and everyone is on it, and I have learned to fly on its wings.
- Disability is a formative part of the human experience; each one of us will have an opportunity to learn from it at some time.
- The Truth of who I am, who we all are, is that which is beyond my physical, emotional, and cognitive abilities.
- All challenges offer a growth opportunity, and how I relate to my challenges is more of an issue than the challenge itself.
- I must feel my feelings and process my losses to find my gifts.
- Radical acceptance enhances the ability to enjoy life.
- We all thrive when we are celebrated for what we can do, instead of being pressured to “fix” ourselves, so we can be average to “fit-in.”
MsBoye: Where can we go to find out more about you and your work?
Kaye: You can find out more about all the different aspects of my creative and professional work by clicking these links:
- Watch a video of “Discovering Grace by Moving Through Grief”
- Learn more about my Counseling Practice
- Learn more about TILT Performance Group and watch recordings of past productions
- Like and follow the True Tales podcast Facebook and hear about new episodes
- Watch my 2013 Stand Up for Mental Health performance here and my 2014 performance here
- Read my essay Pity Fatigue which was a finalist in the Pen to Paper Writing Competition
- Follow my LinkedIn Account