VSA Florida showcases artists with disabilities through our Artist Registry. All art forms are represented including visual art, performing art, and literary work. Artist Registry members receive:
- Announcements for Calls for Art
- Invitations to exhibit or perform for VSA Florida events
- Opportunities to be a paid Collaborative Artist in our artist in residence programs
- Opportunities for informational webinars
- Periodic newsletters
The registry is a FREE service. Click here for an application.
For more information, please contact Sandra Sroka, Adult Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813.974.0721.
My name is AJ Brockman and I am a professional artist who has a disability, or "different ability" as I like to think of it. I have gotten to know my local VSA (Palm Beach County) very well and even had the privilege of having a solo show at their facility.
I have been a professional digital painter for the last three years.
I am 32 years old and have very youngful DNA. Most people think I'm 12. And a boy. But I don't care I think its funny.I'm an Autistic soldier. I fight the battle to be myself when no one understands me and most people wanna try to fix me. But I'm not supposed to be fixed the way they want.I am very non-verbal with most everyone. My Mom says I'm full of god wisdom. I love taking pictures and drawing.My hero and inspiration is the Mighty James Durbin.My Mom & my sister are always there for me and they are awesome. My Mom is also my manager and keeps me supplied in ink.I have a white Shamen cat named Punk. He's my soul cat.I use markers for my drawings. My style is abstract with elements of tangle.
Amber DiPietra lived and worked as a disability advocate and service provider in the San Francisco Bay Area for 10 years. She has recently moved back to her hometown of Tampa, Florida to be closer to family and to focus on her arts practice. She is a poet, performance artist and social practice artist (creating public happenings to build community, especially for folks with disabilities). She runs a series of workshops called Write To Connect: the body as poetry. You can find out more about these W2C experiences and read her artist CV at www.writetoconnect, blogspot.com. Amber has been published in numerous literary journals and most notably, in the 2011 best-selling Beauty is a Verb: the New Poetics of Disability.
As a child, my autism prevented me from communicating through traditional means until my mother used her experience in art therapy to open my eyes to all the world has to offer. Today I'm confident in my artistic abilities and have grown into an adult who uses his synesthesia, autism, and emotions to create unique and expressive pieces. My self-taught technique involves making many small paintings which I scan into the computer and combine in Photoshop to create pieces that are truly unique. Overall, I communicate my feelings through my color choices utilizing my synesthesia which involves a link between my emotions and colors. During difficult times in my life, art was always there for me and it has become a therapeutic means to express my inner voice. I frequently try to give back to the community through my artistic involvement in charities like JDRF and Artists With Autism as part of my mission statement which is that I intend to make a difference in the world by being an artist.
The very first fan of my fictions was my father. I was writing from the very young ages, probably the middle school. I was always a good storyteller. I remember, any time I had a chance to see a movie in a theater; I was going to my friends, and telling them the story of the movie, in more details than it was in the actual plot of the movie. My father who knew a little of literacy was always encouraging me to write the stories I was telling to him and to my friends. Then, when I was claiming that a story is done, he and I were wearing our suits and ties, and catching the bus, and going to the city center of Tehran, where I was born and raised until after high school, which by then I moved to the States. We were handing the stories to the Clark of the children's magazine which was widely distributed all over the schools in Iran. I was too young to remember how many of my stories got published. I knew at least a few of them did. My father was keeping a copy of those magazines in his safe, as long as he was alive. I hadn’t had seen him for years when he died late in the 80s.
Seeking medical treatments, I arrived to Washington D. C. area just a few months after an unfortunate vehicle accident in which I lost a good portion of my sight. By then, I had to adjust to the three major changes; missing my family and my hometown, language barrier, and the sight deficiency. For years, I was confused about in which language should I write my fictional stories. That didn’t stop me writing anyway. However, not having my father around to keep them in his antique wooden safe, I kept them in this shelf and that shelf, and lost them one at a time eventually.
Early in 2009, by encouragements of my good friends, and a sincere and hard work of a professor of English literature; Doctor Alex Bendazzi of Starrier University, Washington D. C., I completed my first long story which Doctor Bendazzi named it; “The Bear: An Allegory. “Initially, I was self-published it as a fiction book, however, later while at the University of South Florida, I converted to a full feature film screenplay, and modified its name to ‘The Bear’.
I completed a bachelor's degree on Theater Art at the later age at the University of South Florida, during which I became familiar with American and the world drama. My focus of study was mostly on teaching drama and directing theater plays.
I completed my second screenplay; ‘Delete and the Horse’ before I was graduated from USF, and wrote several other short fictions.
I experienced working theater with young artists during the school year of 2013 – 2014 at Orange Grove Middle Magnet School of Art as teacher-assistance, and I loved it.
Diagnosed with schizophrenia at an early age, Bob was challenged to get back to what was important in life - His art, family, and dog Brutus. For Bob, schizophrenia was a blessing in disguise.
Bob has a self published book out called Virtues which can be found online here - http://yellowdogartistry.lonestarnorth.com/wordpress/
He is currently working on a comic book and loves to paint.
Brandon Dawson is a 21-year old deaf person that has been creating artwork all his life. His most recent art exhibit was held at the African American Research Library in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Brandon creates a variety of artwork in clay, pastels, acrylic and is now creating a series in 3-D. He is a graduate of South Plantation High School in Plantation, FL and was a member of the solar car project.
Brandon is a Florida native who was diagnosed with autism at age three, and was speech delayed until approximately five years old. He started drawing at two to communicate his ideas. His drawings and the storybooks he continues to create today are often the people he has met and places he has visited. He enjoys meeting new people and discovering new places every chance he can get. His hobbies include collecting foreign money, maps, writing lyrics, posting home videos on YouTube, and studying and singing Spanish as a second language. He is also an athlete with Special Olympics of Broward County, competing in Alpine Skiing and member of the Athlete Leadership Program that encourages public speaking and community involvement.
His favorite style of drawing has always been with colored pencils and ink markers. As a founding member of ArtistsWithAutism, A South Florida networking group for aspiring artists on the spectrum, Brandon’s art is often exhibited at local events and galleries. His art is also made for greeting cardsand giclees on an online gallery.
Brandon’s art style spans from a collection of childhood drawings focusing on prehistoric type animals, to water colors and acrylics inspired from photos.
When asked “what does autism mean to you?”, “It makes it difficult for me to learn, and I need a lot of lessons”. When asked, “Would you change if you could?” Brandon, “Well, not exactly. As long as I can read, that is what is important.”
Brenda is a National VSA Teaching Artist Fellow living in Sarasota, Florida. She is a mixed-media artist who specializes in hand-building in clay and teaching collage techniques. Please see her website for a wonderful waterfall, clay and mural project that can be brought to your school or community.
Please click here to see a video of Brenda's waterfall project.
The award winning assemblages of Bruce and Dottie Cook have been juried as both fine and folk art for over a decade. The "outsider" work has been very popular and is permanently displayed in museums, state parks and public buildings across Florida. It is in galleries, collections and charity auctions nationwide. The materials and techniques range from simple to sublime, often using "findings", then finished with a very durable epoxy resin designed to last for generations. Outdoor display is not recommended however. Notable exhibitions include the NFL Players Association in conjunction with Super Bowl XLIII and XLIV, the Princeton University Medical Center, House of Blues in Orlando and LeMoynes Center for Visual Art. Bruce has been adjudicated to the Southern Artists Federation, listed in Who's Who of American Art and nominated to the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. Bruce and Dottie operate River Wood Studio in scenie Suwannee County, Florida. Commissioned work is always welcome by contacting the studio.
I have been taking photos for 13 years, and am especially drawn to flowers
Born into a large creative family, artistic expression of one kind or another has always played a central and defining role in my life's journey. My current projects primarily consist of mixed media paintings, collages and assemblages. Although legally blind secondary to retinitis pigmentosa, i have incorporated this skewed ability to see and not see into my work.
Christopher is a high school student currently playing at school and weekly at Crossing Church at the Praise and Worship Service. He also plays with an alternative rock band.
Clay Wethal is a young visual artist in the Ft. Myers area of Florida. He works with the Goodwill Pathways to Opportunities Creative Expression art program. He enjoys using crayon and up cycling through the use of recycled materials to express himself artistically. He has recently started finding venues to exhibit his work.
Crystle Barrs is 26 and has lived in Florida all of her life. She was born with Nystagmus which has caused her to be legally blind. Crystle has grown to understand that she can do anything she sets her mind to and feels that just because she has limited vision doesn't mean she should stop living. Crystle began experimenting with drawing and art while in school, but never thought too much of it. She has now been painting for 7 years. Her medium is acrylic and she likes to experiment with pastels. She has not yet found her specialty, but loves to paint depending on her mood, whether it's something floral or abstract. What Crystle has worked on the most is being creative and taking an idea and expanding it to another level. She is still a student in the art world and thinks of art as a potential career and hopes to make that happen sometime in the near future.
Cynthia has had a love of art and nature all her life. Growing up in South Florida with a University of Florida research scientist for a father gave her access to worlds of creative experiences in science, gardening and entomology, which fostered her love of nature and a desire to capture images in art. She began drawing her favorite subject - horses - at age 5 and took up oil painting at age 9, painting prolifically and with great joy. Studying art in college led to her advanced studies in Landscape Architecture.
After finishing her thesis on the visual impact of recreation sites along rivers in Louisiana, she began her career as a landscape architect, working in Louisiana and Mississippi on urban planning and landscape beautification projects, including the Interstate 10 landscaping program in New Orleans, Louisiana. She continued her professional career in Houston, Texas as a town planner for a community of 80,000 people working for a major land developer.
During her children's early years she began facilitating art and gardening in their schools and within the Chapel Hill, NC community on a volunteer basis. As her children grew, she started a business called Bright Horse on their 30 acre family horse farm to foster experiential learning with horses, art and ceramics for local children after school and during summer and holiday breaks. She studied extensively with the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA), achieving Level 2 Equine Specialist status and working with individual and corporate clients on her farm.
Since moving back to Florida in 2014, she has worked as a groom and exercise rider on a large professional training farm in Morriston and has been teaching art, founding Riverland Art and working with the Rainbow Springs Artist Cooperative, teaching art lessons and writing grants for funding.
Damian K Wildfong, a Michigan native, wrote her first poem at 6 and started in the arts as a spoken word artist and has performed all over the country. She began painting as a way to "get out of her head" and after a major life change moved her to a little cottage on the river in Tampa FL. She embraced life again through the arts dabbling in film, print making and pottery. She sees her CP as part of what makes her unique and able to view life through a different lens that has served to enrich it.
Here is some audio of Damian's poetry -
Electric Poetry - Damian Wildfong : Olive, 88.1FM WYCE, Grand Rapids Community Media Center : Free D
"I live in South Beach and moved here from Maryland where I was born and grew up. I have been drawing since I was a young boy and most recently started using what I call "psychedelic colors". My work is completely unplanned - as the colors and shapes come to me I use crayon or magic markers to put my thoughts on paper. My other love is music especially artists from the 50's and 60's".
An intense study of the sculptural styles, primarily of Alberto Giacometti along with the unique styles of many primitive cultures, spiced by a mild fascination with the imaginative spirit behind the United States Space Program, has melded an optimistic yet somewhat realistic energy. This energy, which attempts to transcend the boundaries of awareness by fusing time, space, and matter, has collectively been referred to as "Davism".
Davism was borne from the awareness of human limitations-mental and physical, placed upon the spirit of individuals stricken with Cerebral Palsy. Davism attempts to emerge from and evolve out of this previous stage of development - beyond the limits set up by society and physical conditioning. David Emley
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