Shared Visions Reception Celebrates Artists with Visual Impairment

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FULLERTON, Calif.—At the Marshall B. Ketchum University (MBKU) University Eye Center last month, artists, jurors and members of the public celebrated the opening of the ninth annual Shared Visions Art Exhibit, a juried art show in which blind, legally blind and visually impaired artists are given an opportunity to put their artwork on display in a competitive but collaborative setting. The reception, which took place here on Jan. 14, 2014, introduced the work of 34 artists living with visual impairment throughout the U.S., Canada and Sweden whose artwork will be shown, free to the public, from now until mid-August 2014.

The Shared Visions artwork includes 94 works including paintings, mosaics, sculptures and photography created by artists with no or little point of reference due to debilitating visual conditions, a concept intended to inspire sighted individuals to see things differently, the organizers said. It also serves as a place for MBKU and other optometric professionals to educate the public about the effects and treatment of certain eye diseases and visual deficiencies.

“The Shared Visions Art Exhibit provides a unique gallery venue for visually impaired artists,” said MBKU president, Kevin L. Alexander, OD, PhD. “The exhibit, originally started in 2005, also provides an opportunity for the University Eye Center’s doctors and optometric interns to educate the community about eye diseases, vision impairment and available vision rehabilitation options.”

According to show organizers, the Shared Visions Art Exhibit is one of four art exhibitions of its kind in the U.S. More information is available at www.ketchum.edu/sharedvisions.

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"Eclipse," by Rose Fortney, was the exhibit’s signature piece used in promotional materials. Fortney, who has retinitis pigmentosa, says that her sight depends heavily on light, thus her artwork shows high contrast between colors.

“Café Conversation” by Kurt Weston, former fashion photographer and Shared Visions co-founder, was selected as the “Best Artwork Created With Use of Low Vision Aids,” which Weston received at the University Eye Center at Fullerton.

Shared Visions co-founder and participating artist, Kurt Weston, proudly stands by his artwork. Weston, who experienced sight loss from cytomegalovirus retinitis, completed his award-winning piece, Café Conversation, using magnification devices from the University Eye Center at Fullerton.

Dr. Patrick Yoshinaga, acting chief of low vision, and Wayne Heidle, volunteer adaptive technology specialist, take the stage to discuss the latest technology patients are treated with at University Eye Center’s Adaptive Technology Center.

Shared Visions Art Exhibit Artist, Alison Fortney, describes her photography process to exhibit attendees.

Shared Visions artist Doris Carlton and guests view the 2013-14 Shared Visions Art Exhibit at the Grand Opening Reception held at MBKU's University eye Center on January 14, 2014.

(L to R, front row) MBKU president, Dr. Kevin Alexander, Paul Stover, vice president of advancement, Arlene Kaye, director of marketing and Shared Visions Art Exhibit curator and Dr. Patrick Yoshinaga join 15 Shared Visions artists for a group shot.