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 email@example.com or 813.974.0721.
Native Floridian, Josh Silver Banks has been expressing himself via vibrant abstract paintings since age 16 (summer 2005). Diagnosed with autism around age 2, a year after moving to Jupiter, he doesn’t speak but discovered this artform when his mom packed some Crayola® markers to channel his energy during evacuation from a hurricane. Before moving to a group home in Martin County in 2010, he’d draw in five- to ten-minute spurts at his parents’ home. In 2007, Josh’s mom secured a Palm Beach County artist in residence grant for Texas art professor Mari Omori, who was so impressed by Josh’s work that she suggested a goal of producing 20 works so he could exhibit them. The goal was reached in 2011, when his mom arranged giclee prints of earliest and more recent pieces, framing a total of 14. He’s completed about ten smaller works in his current home, and has been experimenting with oil crayons and finger paint. Joshua’s work was included in four juried group exhibitions and an art festival in 2012, in Jupiter, Tequesta, West Palm Beach, Lakeland and Houston, Texas. In February 2013, he became one of several featured artists on the Dick Blick art supply company’s website, source of his watercolor paper. Media coverage includes: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/health/the-colorful-mind-of-josh-banks-who-suffers-2285448. html?page=2 and http://www.wpbf.com/Autistic-man-speaks-through-art/-/8789538/9521676/-/taio9wz/-/index.html [Channel 25 in West Palm Beach March 18, 2012] His Facebook page is Joshua Silver Banks Autism and Artistry, and his website is joshuasilverbanks.com
Joy LeeAnn is a native Tampanian who shows her passion for creativity through photography, writing and poetry. She views her traumatic brain injury as an event that made her who she is today.
Just before March 9, 2012 began, Joy was biking in downtown Savannah dressed in all black, riding a black bike and without a helmet. She failed to stop at a stop sign, colliding with a vehicle. She landed on the hood, her head denting where the window and roof meet and ended up on the grassy knoll in front of a building, sustaining yet another crack on the head. During that thrill ride, she received s hairline fracture to her right leg.
She spent a month traveling between; ICU, step down unit and the fifth floor at Memorial hospital in Savannah, GA. She then entered the rehabilitation program at Memorial, for two months. During rehab, she received incredible care from the strong, caring staff she is still in contact with today. After the best pizza party of her life, she went home to enjoy (sarcasm alert) seven blissful months of re-learning how to take care of herself, eat, walk, talk and write.
If she had not had the supportive family she does; Joy would not have made such a stellar recovery. She fought, whined and complained until she returned to Savannah to finish out her senior year at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Joy graduated November 2013 with a bachelor of fine arts in photography and creative writing. She has an intensified love of and respect for life; she has dedicated her life to her creative passions. That and making sure everyone wears a bicycle helmet!
I'm a happily married Christian artist & author! Most of my artwork is inspired by our Creator's Complexity in that He created each one of us so unfathomable that one has to look many times over to see every aspect of each person! I've crafted as long as I can remember. My Grandpa bought my first piece when I was 10, telling me that good art should be paid for! But, I just presented myself to the world as an artist in 2004!
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 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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.