Artist Registry

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 srokas.vsafl@gmail.com or 813.974.0721.

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Karen E. Michaels
Visual Artist

Karen attended school for 20 some years.She earned an undergraduate degree in Geoenvironemntal Science. She also earned post graduate degrees and work in Counseling Psychology,Crisis Intervention, Addictions and a residency in Systemic Therapy. The ability to use her education was taken away, in the split second it takes two cars to collide. The result was a traumatic brain injury.
This is now her second life. She lives with her spouse, Marilyn Blumberg Cane, and is grateful to be able to express herself visually.
Karen has won awards and photographic competitions including National Wildlife, Ritz and Canon. She is a member of VSA, which is an organization dedicated to working with and helping artists with disabilities.
She has a revolving gallery at the Shepard Broad Law Center of Nova Southeastern University. Since 2010, Karen has donated her time and graphic talent to the Inter American Center for Human Rights and Lambda United at the law center.
In 2011, three pieces of Karen's work began a 4 year traveling exhibit with the Great Explorations Children's Museum in St Petersburg, Florida.
Also in 2011, Karen was a nominee for the 6th annual Black and White Spider awards.
Looking through a lens and sound canceling headphones make her world manageable. Enjoy her work.

Kathleen Giddens
Visual Artist

Kathleen Giddens was born in St. Petersburg, Florida.  She got a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Florida and afterwards a Masters of Art Education to enable her to teach art. She worked as a teacher's aide for 3 years, did graphic art for 2 years, then taught part-time in community college for 5 years. She has had numerous volunteer jobs including docent at a natural science museum,teaching art in nursing homes and working with adults with mental disabilities. Now legally deaf, unable to speak, and a nerve loss on the left side she cannot teach. She has time now to concentrate fully on her painting and drawing. Kathleen presently lives in Lake City, Florida with her husband and 2 dogs.

Katie Henderson
Visual Artist
Phone: 772-466-9622
Website:

Katie is an emerging artist living with Down Syndrome.  She believes you can do anything you want even if others think you can't.  She often says, "I can do it myself."   Katie grew up in Lake Ridge, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC and moved to Florida with her family in 2004. Her God-given talent was discovered in 2008.  She was named "Artist of the Month" at the ARC of St. Lucie County, in Ft. Pierce, FL. 

Katie's love for drawing is inspired by her interest in fashion.  She has taught herself to draw models and characters from her fashion design books.  She has built an art library full of posing models.  Her ladies have a unique style from gently out stretched fingers to pointing toes.  Her eye for composition, her vision of movement, and her attraction to shape and design enable her to create extraordinary images.  Like Picasso, Katie's art transcends boundaries as she captures the essence of the beauty of the female form.  Her unique perspective transforms the ordinary into a cubist world. 

As an artist Katie continues to evolve.  She is currently experimenting with watercolors under the direction of Lynne Barletta at the Visionary School of Fine Arts in Stuart, FL.

Katie is a member of the Art Association  of Martin County, the Palm City Art Association (PCAA), and the Friends of  Art Mundo of Ft Pierce.  Her artwork is currently on display at Osceola 32 Art Gallery in Stuart, FL.  She won 2nd Place in the Mixed Media category at the PCAA Annual Art Show this year and has exhibited in several juried fine art shows.  She is proud to have collectors who are interested in her drawings and whom have purchased her work.  She was recently selected as one of five artists to participate in the "Emerging Artists Exhibit,"  the month of July 2012 (hosted by the Art Mundo).

 She actively supports promoting individuals with disabilities by donating originals and prints for fundraising.   She is a member of the Treasure Coast Down Syndrome Awareness Group.  In May she will be a guest at the "A Night of Art and Blues," Research Down Syndrome Foundation on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.  She has contributed an original drawing and a giclée print to this event.  As a self-advocate, Katie will have an exhibit at the National Down Syndrome Congress in Washington, DC in July.  She also created "Buttercup," a golf lady, used to design t-shirts and note cards to support breast cancer fundraisers. 

Katie has her own business, Miss Katie's Kreations (www.misskatieskreations.com).  Her goal is to work hard to support herself.   She says,  "I make my own money now."

Kay Swing
Visual Artist
Phone: 727-507-0430
Website:

Kay grew up in Northern Indiana and didn't realize she had a passion for painting until she and her husband retired and moved to Florida in 2001.  Her passion began when she discovered the Art Festivals and Art Centers in Pinellas County, Florida.  The fine art paintings inspired her so much that she decided to take classes in Pastel and Oil painting and is now a member of the following Art Societies:  VSA, an organization dedicated to working with and helping artists with disabilities;  The Dunedin Fine Art Center; TESA, The Exhibiting Society of Artists and the Pastel Society of Tampa Bay.  The Florida parks, beaches, flowers and trees are the subject matter that influence Kay the most.  Her inspiration for most of her paintings is from her own photographs.
 

Photo of Kyle Heinly
"Seasons" by Kyle Heinly
Kyle Heinly
Visual Artist

I was born with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, and global epilepsy which through physical/occupational/speech/hippo-therapy I have gained mobility over time. I for years was looking for something to do for the rest of my life, early on I had an english teacher who got me into poetry which led me to spoken word poetry which led me to meeting Jeff Flipski who one day told me to paint which I did, and now I have painted over at least 200 pieces of art so far. I do not plan on stopping. I want to show that there is an artistic option as an occupation to handicapped individuals, and that artistic expression transcends differences of abilities. Beauty is in imperfection, and life itself is an art.

I am an outsider artist. I paint with primarily the acrylic medium in an abstract expressionistic/primitivist manner that is highly influenced by afrocentric culture, street art, world culture in general, and philosophy. I also do series of matte board originals in primarily marker, and pen which I sometimes print onto t-shirts. I plan on exploring more mediums in the future as I find out my dexterity in using each medium. Speaking of which I apply different mediums due to my degree of control with each one such as brush, paint marker, and sometimes my own two hands.

Leonia Varner
Visual Artist
Website:

Ms. Varner is a woman of many talents.  She is a sketch artist, a painter, and a singer.  A seasoned visual artist, she enjoys painting portraits of women from around the world.  Her portraits are evocative, realistic, and tinged with nostalgia.  Her characters are distinct and personal, breathing life into her work one line at a time.

Linda Faust
Performing Artist
Phone: 727-559-0470
Website:

Linda Faust is a visually and hearing impaired vocalist and keyboardist who is originally from Hartford, Connecticut.  She has worked in Connecticut and the Tampa Bay area for the last 35 years.  Linda plays a variety of music including old standards, blues, 50's and 60's rock, showtunes, and some country.

Photo of Linda Haskell
Linda Haskell
Visual Artist
Website:

Linda Haskell is a dedicated artist who works primarily with a unique carbon transfer method and would rather be drawing than anything else. Her technique of building up lines creates a texture, depth and thick tangible atmosphere that is truly remarkable. She is beyond prolific! And, with each work, she inadvertently creates two pieces of art…The altered and reworked master-copy and the finished object of wonder that is produced as a result of her intense labor.

Lisa Deneka
Visual Artist
Website:

Lisa Deneka is a professional Visual Artist working in Mixed Media. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Art; Cinematography concentration from the University of South Florida in 1993. In 1994, she moved to New York City where she completed a residency in documtary filmmaking while assisting curating for Berlin International Film Festival. With a growing interest and influenced by art of the American Southwest, Lisa spent seven years in the Santa Fe area studying Folk Arts and working at Taos Art Association. Lisa continued in theatre management when she moved back to Florida in 2000. Begining in 2009, she began working exclusively on her career as a Mixed Media Viisual Artist coining her process as MiXeD MeDiA MaYheM. Her work has premiered in several juried exhibitions at The Tampa Museum of Art, The Amelia Arena, Carrollwood Cultural Center & several other private galleries & festivals. Lisa has been a guest art teacher for Creative Clay in Saint Petersburg, Florida and also a private Catholic school near Orlando where she taught art to ages k-8th grade..

"Creating art for me is a great means of personal expression, storytelling, therapy & activism.  Art is my voice  and I sometimes I talk a lot !  I start with acrylic, water color, charcoal or oil pastel then manipulate in recycled materials, my own poetry, found text & other mediums to create texture, imagery,  I am satisfied & my job as an artist is complete when my art evokes  thought, conversation or controversy! "

 Facebook at :  www.Facebook.com/lisaadeneka

Lisa Phillips Owens
Visual Artist
Phone: 727-857-5528

Lisa was an accomplished dressage trainer for nearly a quarter of a century until becoming sidelined by severe rheumatoid arthritis.  Now, her goal as a traditional painter is to merge the contemporary world in which she is engaged with the art of the High Renaissance.  Lisa is currently an instructor at the Pasco Arts council in Holiday, Florida.

Liz Gibson
Performing Artist
Website:

Liz Gibson has been an artist for twelve years. She works in painting, sculpture, video, installation, performance and storytelling. Her art has been presented and exhibited in galleries and museums including an evening of solo performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville in 2011. Gibson was recently selected to receive one of eight Individual Artist Fellowships from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs for 2014.
She also received a grant from the Community Foundation of Northeast Florida for 2013. She received her MFA in Performance Art from Florida State University in 2011. She is based in Jacksonville, Florida and teaches at the University of North Florida. 
Deformity, adversity, and empowerment- these are the themes of my work. Having been born with seven fingers total, (five fingers on my left-hand and two fingers on my right-hand) as an artist, I have chosen to take this unique personal experience and transform it into a shared experience with my audiences. I have created four distinct characters that represent different developmental stages a person born with a physical defect goes through. The transformation is marked in terms of both social perception and self-perspective. It is most important to me that the work I make is both visually intriguing as well as socially compelling. I combine the mediums of video, art performance, and installation to engulf the viewer in this experience. I want my art to be engaging, heartfelt, and ultimately socially positive for an audience composed of all ages, races, sexual orientations, and social-economical classes. Birth defects occur in all groups of people and the adversity of the disabled can truly touch us all, especially when the adversity is overcome and the deformed then become the empowered. 

Lora Duguay
Visual Artist
Website:

Lora Duguay has been creative since childhood, but when her life was affected by Post Polio Syndrome, her hobby became her full time career. Her artistic creativity has been focused on the cultural beauty of indigenous tribes, nature, and iconography. Mediums include oil, colored pencil, scratchboard and photography. Her art has been exhibited in various museums and galleries throughout the United States. Lora's main focus during the past several years has been the Art of Miniature. She is a member of The Association of Miniature Artists. Lora is also a member of VSA Florida, having participated on their Board of Directors, as well as Artist in Residency Program sharing her artistic knowledge with students who have special needs. It is Lora's desire to not only bring pleasure to the viewers eye, but to evoke emotion, memories and pleasant thoughts.

Luis Croasdaile
Visual Artist
Phone: 863-984-5701

Artist Luis E. Croasdaile, born in Honduras, lost his hearing at an early age, which impeded his speech, yet despite this challenge, Luis went on to study for two years in Barcelona, Spain, where he discovered his interest in and talent for art. After immigrating to the United States to build on his artistic skills, he found a constant inspiration in his daughter and continued painting now for personal satisfaction. Luis takes ordinary scenes and people and transforms them into a cubist world. This reflects his belief that only through a skewed perspective will truth be revealed and with high hopes of a cubist revival. In his words, "We must look beyond the surface and constantly question our realities and motives."

 

If you would like to contact Luis, please use Relay Service (711) 863-984-5701.

Photo of Luisa Pulido
Artwork by Luisa Pulido
Luisa Pulido
Visual Artist
Phone: 786-287-7717

Luisa paints oil on canvas and has been painting for over 20 years.  She has had some art exhibitions and has sold some paintings, but not much success due to her disability.

Luz Elena Aponte
Visual Artist

A South Florida Hispanic artist who notwithstanding the challenges of developmental disabilities, with the support of her team and technology creates abstract art that conveys a special meaning and message to those who see and purchase them.  Owning a piece of LUZ’s art will inspire you to “Believe In”, to “Dare to Dream”, to “Enjoy…”, and to see the “Possibilities” for your life and  move beyond your personal challenges.  An inspiring micro-enterprise pioneer, Lucy demonstrates that people can reach their dreams by using their talents to develop their own businesses and achieve the American dream of self sufficiency.  Her family’s motto:  To Love, To Learn, To Share and To Serve.  Lucy’s business name:  Life’s Unlimited Zenith, LLC is best understood by Gandhi’s quote:  “My life is my message”. 

 

“Not being able to speak is not the same as not having anything to say, to do, to learn, to dream!”

Lynn Garris
Visual Artist

Diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) at age 11, Lynn struggled mentally and socially from a young age. However, through art she was able to express herself and graduated from the University of North Florida in 2012 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drawing, Painting, and Printmaking. Her work has been featured in several exhibitions such as the New View Student Exhibition at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens and Non-Traditional Painting at the Jim Draper Gallery, located in Jacksonville, Florida. Her illustration was also published as the cover art for Douglas Anderson School of the Art’s mailer advertisement in 2007. She currently lives in Ocala, Florida where she works as a freelance artist.

Marcos Miguel Abreu
Visual Artist
Website:

My name is Marcos Miguel Abreu, and I live in Jacksonville Florida. My favorite medium is acrylics on high quality watercolor paper or canvas, and my body of work naturally gravitates towards abstracts using vibrant color themes.

Margaret Zabor
Visual Artist
Phone: 813-504-7089
Website:

As a recent retiree, Margaret can now enjoy her two loves: Taoist tai chi and painting.  After some years of painting first in acrylics and then oils, she is starting to experiment with watercolor --  a whole new world to discover.  Although her bipolar disorder did not prevent her from working (although just in clerical jobs), it did impose some limits, and painting became a therapeutic release. She is mostly self-taught and looks forward to taking some local classes.

Mark Seamonson
Performing Artist
Website:

I was born on November 2, 1953 in Rockford, Illinois.  I was born two months early.  because of this, I have mild spastic cerebral palsy in all four limbs and am blind in my left eye.  when I was a kid, these birth defects kept me from playing organized sports (the excuse was insurance rules).  I started taking guitar lessons instead.  I took lessons for six years, until I was eighteen.  After that, I just played music with my friends (mostly rock and blues).

I dropped out of college in the mid-70's to seriously go after a career as a musician.  after seven years of this, I began following Jesus Christ and started college again.  I finally graduated in 1990 and went on to teach in a middle schools which lasted for two years.  I moved on to teach Pre-Kindergarten for eighteen years in the Headstart program.

I was laid off in 2012 from this job with over 300 other people due to the program being privatized.  I am currently semi-retired.  Over the years, I also learned to play the banjo, mandolin, and some violin.  I have been happily married to my wife Lynn for 25 years and we have a beautiful 24-year old daughter, Leah.

Photos by Mark Seamonson:

                                             

Matthew Weihmuller
Performing Artist
Phone: 813-541-4012
Website:

Matt Weihmuller is a jazz saxophonist who completed both his undergraduate education in music (magna cum laude) and masters of music at Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida.  He was a member of the FSU Jazz Ensemble I and various jazz combos, as well as a regular performer at various Tallahassee jazz venues.

Matt recently relocated to the Tampa area, where he is the saxophone and jazz instructor at the Patel Conservatory at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.  Matt also provides private music instruction from his home.  He currently tours with a band, called UNRB,  featuring original eclectic music with elements of funk, jazz, rock, and reggae, in addition to performing locally with a jazz trio when his schedule permits.   

Via performance and workshop experiences, Matt has had the opportunity to gain from the direction of many noted jazz professionals, including Marcus Roberts, Bunky Greene,  Jason Marsalis, Buster Cooper, Bill Kennedy, John Lamb, Chick Corea, Eric Alexander, David Hazeltine, Don Braden, Jim Snidero, and Walt Weiskopf.  He was fortunate to receive his early music instruction in Tampa, Florida where he attended the H.W. Blake High School of the Arts, and benefitted from the instruction of the University of South Florida saxophone instructor, Valerie Gillespie.

At The Florida State University, he was a member of the Phi Beta Lambda honorary music association, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Gold Key scholars, as well as a number of professional music associations.

Matt is also a composer, utilizing specialized music technology for the blind. His greatest personal goal, however, is to champion the cause of increasing Braille music literacy for young blind musicians.