Showing posts with label artists with diabilities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label artists with diabilities. Show all posts

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Visionaries + Voices: Art From the Soul

Imagine discovering a treasure chest of artwork that connects you to the soul of the artist. My husband told me about Visionaries + Voices in Cincinnati that provides a professional studio environment for artists with disabilities. The idea of a grassroots program that features work by self-taught artists led us to visit one of the workshops. We admired Christmas ornaments, stuffed animals, and paintings. Then a drawing caught my eye. The impressionistic cabin and evergreen now hangs in my kitchen.

Visionaries + Voices started “specifically for artists with disabilities.” Artists given the chance to grow on a personal and professional level have the opportunity to learn new techniques and sell their work. Samantha Charek, Outreach Director, for Visionaries Voices answered a few questions for me.

Tell me about the mission of Visionaries + Voices and how many people the program serves.

Founded in 2003, the mission of Visionaries + Voices is to provide artistic, cultural, and professional opportunities for artists with disabilities. We create a world in which artists with disabilities not only produce and share works of art, but also are given continuous opportunities to learn, develop professionally, collaborate, exhibit, and celebrate with community members.Visionaries + Voices currently supports approximately 150 artists.

Can you explain what the term outsider art refers to?

Outsider art is a term that refers to art created "outside" the established art world.

Is the group local or are there any national groups?

V+V is a local 501c3 organization. There are a few organizations around the country that have similar missions, but there's only one V+V. Our founders, Bill Ross and Keith Banner, started out just making art with a couple of artists in their basement and things grew from there. V+V later expanded into a studio space at the Essex and today we have two locations in Cincinnati. One is in Northside on Spring Grove Avenue and the other is in the Tricounty area on Northland Blvd.

Where is the artwork sold? Can any be purchased online?

V+V artists exhibit their work constantly. We curate one show per quarter in our gallery at the Northside studio location (the next one, "Up, up, up, and up" is opening on February 21st 5-8pm). Artwork is always available for sale at every opening and we also welcome people to drop in during studio hours (M-TH 8am-8pm and F 8-4) to meet artists and check out the work. Our artists also participate in countless other exhibits in galleries and public spaces (like coffee shops and salons) throughout Greater Cincinnati.
Our website is currently being redesigned. We do have an online store, but it is primarily used for merchandise (T-shirts, posters, etc.) WIth150 artists making work all year round, inventory is a massive job. We've found that shopping for original works of art online is not something that most people are looking for. They need to experience it first hand to decide. We do accept donations online and people can sign up for our "Collectors Club" membership online as well.

Does the artist receive payment when their work sells?

Yes. When V+V artists sell their work at a V+V sponsored exhibit, the artist receives 70% of the final sale and V+V keeps 30%. Outside galleries usually charge a larger commission, but we ensure that our artists never make less than 50% even if that means we (V+V) don't keep anything.

V+V artists who teach lessons for the Education Program also receive a stipend for their work.

Does the organization use volunteers? If so, how does that work?

We love our volunteers at V+V! If you are interested in volunteering as an individual or as a group just contact our volunteer coordinator, Jennifer Franks,

How long have you worked for V+V? Can you tell me a highlight for you from working with the program?

I have worked for V+V since June of 2008. Every opening is a highlight for me. That might sound too cliché to be true, but the environment at V+V exhibition openings is unlike any other I have ever experienced. There is so much diversity and appreciation and respect for that diversity at each event. That includes people and artwork.

Thank you, Samantha. To learn more about Visionaries + Voices go to: 

Do you have any interesting art programs in your area?