One of the most fascinating items of my early school life was a visit by a blind man, who spoke to the whole school. I was 7. (I know this only because the youngest sat in front, and I was in the front row of kids sitting cross-legged on the floor. At least the other kids were sitting cross-legged, but my hips have never allowed me to fold myself up that way.)
He spoke to us about the ways in which he compensates for his blindness by using his other senses. I remember him showing us how to tell a cup is full by listening to the liquid as it is being poured in, or putting a finger inside the rim. I remember him pointing out we can tell if we are in a large or small space by the echoes - a method I now use when moving around my house in the pitch dark. I was thrilled when I was picked to be the kid who was allowed to figure out how to tell the time from the hands of his glassless watch. This was only the second time in my life I had met someone who was "disabled". He showed us there were many things he could do that we could not.
So, flip forwards 40 some years to Boundaries Bashfest, held in Moreno Valley, the creation of Rick Archer, of Vanguard Gallery and MVCAF. Bashfest was the first of hopefully annual performance festivals showcasing artists who have become star performers despite their "disabilities". We had performances by drummer Daniel Potts - he has no arms; Rachel Flowers who plays seven instruments and sings - she's blind; Sean Forbes who is a hip-hop artist - he's deaf; and Infinite Flow, A Wheelchair Dance Company among others.
On the Friday evening was a meet-and-greet at the gallery. We saw a video created by Ryan Commerson about the need to include and embrace the skills of other-abled people in society rather than trying to overcome and prevent 'dis-'abilities. The movie had subtitles.
In question time after the film, Rachel brought up the subject of adding 'action comments' so that the under-sighted had a better idea of what's going on. Apparently this is possible, and Ryan agreed that should be added to the film. Perhaps I should ask if it's possible to have name-bubbles following characters, for those of us who have difficulty telling people apart and remembering their names.
Later, I saw Rick showing a painting of his to Rachel. The acrylic art had enough texture that she could feel the tree which was the main subject of the painting. I brought down a couple of highly textured mosaics we had on the wall to let her enjoy, one of which was sufficiently detailed for her to find the two figures in the work. (We currently have no sculpture in the gallery.)
The next day I was the volunteer coordinator for the event. We had some willing and helpful volunteers, but with mild prosopagnosia, it's the job I'm least suited to.
"Hi, I'm a volunteer."
"Hi, I'm Jeni, the volunteer coordinator. Tell me your name, but forgive me for the fact I'm going to forget it in the next minute.Here pick an event staff tshirt and go put it on."
This helped me tell who was a volunteer, but further hampered my abilities to distinguish between them. The only ones whose names I could remember were Syra, who was an adult, Omalia, who was taller than everyone else, Erin, who was shorter than everyone else and Thomas, who was the only guy. The rest were a blur of helpful highschool girls who apparently forgave me for calling them 'Hey You'.
Overall, the festival was a great success, though it wasn't as well attended as we'd hoped. We learned a few lessons on things we will do better next year. And I learned ASL for 'Yes', 'No', 'Thank you' and 'Sorry, I don't sign.'
Perhaps I'll be able to use that at an event this month. It's looking to be a pretty busy one!
Three art fairs in three different states! I've not done that before in a month:
Oct 1-2: Art in the Park, Boulder City, NV.
Oct 15th: Art in the park, Newport Beach, CA
Oct 28-30: Stagecoach Village, Cave Creek, AZ.
Three group shows:
Sep 15-Nov 6 2016: Group Show "Art Uncorked", Middleridge Winery, Idyllwild, CA continuing through the month.
Oct 15-20, during regular museum hours: RAM Off the Wall, Riverside Art Museum. Artist Reception Oct 13th, Sponsor Reception Oct 14th, Last Day of Sale: Thursday, October 20, 25% off all remaining artwork.
Oct 15-Nov 10, Chapparal Artists Open, Rainbow Stew, Yucca Valley. Reception Oct 16th 1-3pm
Seven Classes: I'm just going to give you class, location and date and you can go to the classes page on my website for more info.
Absolute Beginners Painting:
sm'Art Studio, La Quinta, Oct 17th
Borrego Art Institute, Oct 18th
Vanguard Gallery, Oct 22nd.
sm'Art Studio, Collage and cards, La Quinta, Oct 6th
sm'Art Studio, La Quinta, Oct 26th
Paint and wine:
Vanguard Gallery, Oct 12th
sm'Art Studio, La Quinta, Oct 26th