Passionate Focus art exhibit features work by blind and visually impaired artists
May 10, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Ten years ago, a Chicago not-for-profit organization created a ''best of show'' art exhibit featuring the work of artists who are blind.
These artists are solely judged on their talent, not disability.
Passionate Focus is a yearly event that is sponsored by the Guild for the Blind. It is an opportunity to promote the unique artistic vision of artists who are blind.
More than 150 different pieces were submitted for this year's Passionate Focus. Forty pieces were selected from 16 artists by a panel of judges.
David Tabak is the executive director of the Guild for the Blind.
"In order to enter this contest you must be legally blind, but they are judged by a professional jury who does not know what their visual impairment is," said Tabak. "And all we say to them is, you need to judge it like you would judge no one else, and we're very strict about that."
Three of artist's Yvonne Shortt pieces were selected. They are made out of paper.
"I would just get draft paper and paint on it," said Shortt. "I am a mathematician by trade, so I love the way paper bends and folds, and what really excited me about working with paper is that it also has texture, and with paint you can give it even more texture. So people, regardless if they can't see or if they can see, they can still have a feeling when they touch my piece, and that's really exciting."
Shortt has been visually impaired all her life.
"I have something called retinitis pigmentosa, which means that I'm slowly losing my vision, my peripheral vision first and then my central vision comes later," said Shortt.
Artist Barbara Romain also had three pieces selected. She is a lifelong artist.
"My vision loss happened after I'd been trained," said Romain. "I have a form of retinal degenerative disease and it's called retinitis pigmentosa.
"It has changed the way I do my work. I used to paint very detailed oil painting and figurative, and now I work in much more abstract way. I used a lot of test in my work. It's also colorful, and I used a lot of large big gestures, because I can see bright color. It's harder for me to see more subtle things."
All of the art work is for sale. A percentage goes to the artist and some goes to the organization.
Passionate Focus's exhibit will be showcase at the Illinois College of Optometry until May 31.
"When I look at this art," Tabak said, "I'm just like, 'Wow, that's such a testament to the human spirit."
The Illinois College of Optometry is located at 3241 S. Michigan Ave.
For more information about the organization and exhibit go to www.guildfortheblind.org
disability issues, karen meyer
- Snow, ice move into southern Illinois
- South Africa, world mourns Nelson Mandela
- Cell phone plans reduced with own device at AT&T
- ABC7 Weather Forecast
- Groundbreaking for $32M DHL facility at O'Hare
- Motorist drives onto CTA tracks in Cicero
- Woman says doc posted ER photos on social media
- CTA Blue Line to receive $492M investment
- Boozer leads Bulls to 107-87 win over Heat
- Man charged with raping woman he met on social media
- Jobs Report: 203K added, unemployment at 7 pct
- Wrigley Field Christmas tree lit
- Rose calls meniscus tear a 'freak accident'
- Lake Zurich Salvation Army kettle gets $5,200 in gold coins
- 7 in :77