Forty-six award-winning pieces of art from disabled artists across Georgia, including three from Conyers, will be on display Oct. 2-26 at the Georgia Artists with Disabilities Inc.’s 31st annual statewide tour and exhibit at Nancy Guinn Memorial Library, 864 Green St. SW.
The entries in the 2015-16 exhibit include paintings, photographs, clay pottery, mosaics, textiles and other mediums considered fine art. The nine-city tour kicks off in Conyers and concludes in Douglasville.
“Georgia Artists with Disabilities continues to be an avenue that allows hundreds of disabled artists to achieve recognition and commercial opportunities for their unique pieces of art,” said Ann Brooks, GAWD chair. “We’re proud to be an advocate for the disabled in communities across Georgia and honored to put their art on display every year for the public to see and enjoy.”
The winning artists from Conyers are:
Essie B. Johnson. She won “Best of Show” for her sculpture fabric “Dress Tail.” A self-taught artist, Johnson began creating artwork at age 7. She is a graduate of Atlanta Technical College specializing in visual communications and early childhood education. For several years, she served as an art instructor at South Fulton Art Center. Johnson is acknowledged as the first artist to craft a three-dimensional texture of sculpture portrait collage on canvas. She believes in patience, faith and hope and credits God for giving her the talent to excel in arts and crafts. This is her first exhibition with Georgia Artists with Disabilities.
Mary Leo. She won “Distinguished Merit” for her painting “Crystalline Canopy.” Leo is able to put colors next to each other in ways that make her work have energy, shimmer and iridescence.
Mary Jo Miller. She won “Honorable Mention” for her painting “Summer in the Rainforest.” Miller can execute anything asked of her while incorporating a sense of style. She likes the colors of the tropics. She also has acting and singing talents, starring as a tango girl from the islands in a Christmas play and singing gospel and patriotic tunes. When she completes artwork that she really likes, she says, “That’s off the chain!”
Judging the entries in this year’s exhibit were:
Allen Bell, arts education manager at Georgia Council for the Arts. He is developing new arts education initiatives for the arts agency and recently produced the research report “Arts Education in Georgia” and managed the statewide Arts Learning Task Force process. He previously served as program director for Arts Education & Research at South Arts, where he researched and authored the reports “Creative Industries in the South,” “Creative Industries in Alabama,” and “Arts Education in the South.” He is also a former executive director of the Rome Area Council for the Arts. He currently serves as the regional representative for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies Arts Education Working Group. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Berry College and a master’s from Binghamton University.
Meryl Manfre Clark, community arts leader with 10 years of experience working with municipal art centers, schools, universities and other organizations to enhance communities through innovative and accessible arts programs. Her passion for community arts stems from her strong belief that the arts have the power to improve quality of life while uniting communities and people of various backgrounds. Over the years, she has worked with at-risk youth, individuals with special needs, inmates in correctional facilities and other underserved populations. She is currently the arts center coordinator for The Art Station-Big Shanty in Cobb County. She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from Auburn University.
Donna Colebeck, lecturer of studio art in the department of art and design in Kennesaw State University’s College of the Arts. She is a former director of the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art and has held positions at the High Museum of Art and the Strong Museum. She has worked in and exhibited watercolor and acrylic painting, metalworks and photography. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Nazareth College and a master of fine arts from Rochester Institute of Technology.
Georgia Artists with Disabilities Inc. was founded in 1985 by the Pilot Clubs of Metro Atlanta and is supported by Georgia District Pilot Clubs. The mission of Pilot International is to transform communities by developing youth, providing service and education, and uplifting families.
The mission of Georgia Artists with Disabilities is to provide avenues through which Georgia artists with disabilities can display their artistic accomplishments in all disciplines of the arts, and to create public awareness of the artistic skills these artists have developed by overcoming the obstacles of their disabilities.
Georgia Artists with Disabilities, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization.
For more information about the exhibit, contact Stacy Brown at (770) 388-5040 ext. 105 or Ann Brooks, chair, Georgia Artists with Disabilities (770) 787-2585