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RHD's programs for artists with intellectual disabilities featured at prestigious Outsider Art Fair

12/27/2011 12:37:48 PM
Contact: Kevin Roberts, RHD Communications, 215-951-0300 (ext. 3714)
or kevinr@rhd.org

KTVI-TV in St. Louis profiles RHD's Blank Canvas & Fine Line Studios, trying to raise money to send their artists to New York for the Outsider Art Fair.

Artists from RHD's arts programs for clients with intellectual or developmental disabilities will have their work featured at the Sanford Smith Outsider Art Fair in New York, the world’s foremost international marketplace for outsider art.

Now all they have to do is get there.

Artists from RHD programs across the country will be featured in the Outsider Art Fair Jan. 27-29, and those studios are now scrambling to raise money to send their artists to New York for the show.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for our clients, and such an honor to be selected to appear at this show,” said James Huffman, director of Blank Canvas Studios. “Many of our clients have never been on a plane before. They’re so excited about this trip, to have their work shown at one of the most prestigious outsider art fairs in the country. We’re committed to making this happen for them.”

“It’s an exciting trip for our participants, but even more than spending the day in New York is the empowerment and excitement that will come when they see their own art work hanging – and maybe being purchased – in such an impressive space with so many other artists’ work,” said Lori Bartol, director of Lower Merion Vocational Training Center. “It’s an unbelievable experience for them, and an important moment in defining themselves as artists, people with skill and something to say.”

While individual artists from various RHD programs have shown work at the Outsider Art Fair, this is the first time RHD has qualified as a gallery, as RHD is set to launch "Outside In," a gallery showcasing the work done in all its art studios across the country.

"The genre of outsider art has become very respected by people who are looking for a raw untrained vision and the story that creates,” said Dale Anderson, RHD corporate assistant director and a leading advocate of arts programs for people with intellectual disabilities. “Along the way, the artwork serves as a means of offering creativity-based healing and learning opportunities, and also as a way to empower people to realize their creative potential and explore various means of personal expression.”

RHD currently supports arts programs in five states: Blank Canvas and Fine Line in Missouri, Outside the Lines in Boston, Second Site in Rhode Island and Live Yes in Nebraska, in addition to three arts studios in Philadelphia -- Oasis, The Studio at Lower Merion Vocational Training Center and Artists for Recovery.

Artwork from a number of RHD artists will be showcased at the Outsider Art Fair, but 10 have been chosen as featured artists: Heidi Stuber and Ruth Loeffler (Blank Canvas), Yamada Verges (Fine Line), Oranit Solomonov (Oasis), Gail Hampton and Raymond Lee Jordan (Rhode Island), Paul Spagnoletti (Artists for Recovery), Martin Jerauld (Outside the Lines), Lindsay Baker (Live Yes) and Mary Bevlock (Lower Merion Vocational Training Center).

RHD has established itself as a leader in art-based day programs that provide adults with disabilities an outlet for unbridled creativity and self-expression through visual arts, music, and photography and community involvement. Arts programs are a major part of RHD's many services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The term "outsider art" broadly refers to artists with no formal training, but primarily it has come to describe the work produced by artists with disabilities. It comes from the term "art brut," coined by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe the artwork of insane asylum inmates in the 1940s. Today, outsider art is a thriving medium with a devoted following.

The Sanford Smith Outsider Art Fair is Jan. 27-29. For more information, please see http://www.sanfordsmith.com