Friday, December 26, 2008

An interesting non-profit - blind artists

One of the things I'm working on for the Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome Network that in a previous post I included under "outreach projects" is I'm building a database of every non-profit or government agency that serves the visually impaired. The truth is we just can't rely on doctors to diagnose Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome. I'm hoping to engage the greater blind/low vision community to help us get the word out.

That means that in my research I'm finding all kinds of cool stuff related to blindness and low vision.

This evening I found a non-profit based in Philly called National Exhibits by Blind Artists. They have an annual art competition and organize national touring shows for winners.

I must confess, one reason I've never taken my artwork past "hobby" and never studied art seriously is that it always bugged me that I could never tell if people that were responding positively to my artwork were really responding to the work, or the fact that I did it. If you have no expectations anything can be impressive. No one expects a legally blind person to be interested or good at art - although I have many legally blind friends who are talented artists. I have one friend who is legally blind and actually makes her living solely on her art.

It's for that reason I've always viewed many of these programs with a bit of skepticism. But, hey, I've got to tell you - these guys are promoting some very talented artists and they just happen to be blind. So, I'm giving them a plug and hoping you'll check out some of their work online.

As for me, these guys are out of my league - at least for now.

My big goal in artland is that someday I hope to have enough paintings completed at one time to do a show anywhere - and I'd like to use the show to promote HPS. I'd like to do it as a fundraiser, but to be honest, that will depend on the venue and whether I happen to fall into the catagory of "starving artist" by then.

Funny story - when I finished college it took me a year to find my first job. I ran into a lot of discrimination. During that time I did sell some of my artwork - ironic isn't it. I was a starving writer making ends meet by artwork. I have to give my mom the credit though. She was my "promoter." I'm so not good at that stuff!

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