Ami Gordon touches the tactile art at the sixth annual Artists with Disabilities showcase in Victoria, featuring the braille sign for “art.” (Keili Bartlett/News staff)

Ami Gordon touches the tactile art at the sixth annual Artists with Disabilities showcase in Victoria, featuring the braille sign for “art.” (Keili Bartlett/News staff)

Showcase shines a light on artists with disabilities

Sixth annual art show hosted by Victoria Disability Resource Centre runs Nov. 30 to Dec. 3

Normally, you’re never allowed to touch art, but the sixth annual Artists with Disabilities showcase in Victoria has a whole wall of tactile artwork.

Created by a youth art program with the Victoria Disability Resource Centre, large colourful posters are textured to feature braille words. One says the word “art” while another says “hope.”

“One of the things that makes our show so exciting is that it’s a showcase, so it’s not just one type of medium, one type of artist or one type of ability or disability — it’s everything,” said coordinator Ami Gordon.

There’s both abstract and realistic art, sculptures, a short film and the interactive tactile wall.

Gordon, who has volunteered with the showcase for three years, has also facilitated arts programs with a children’s rehabilitation hospital. She and her son, who has down syndrome, both love art and its therapeutic side effect.

READ MORE: Victoria holiday craft fair aims to break stigma against mental health

“I’ve seen firsthand the healing power of art. It opens up abilities. When you come to our artshow, you don’t see disabilities, you see abilities. You see gifts,” Gordon said.

This year, of the 18 artists featured, there are eight newcomers. To add more of a sense of each artist’s style, the showcase is featuring multiple works from each person.

Les Chan has hosted the show all six years, ever since he — an artist in his own right — was approached to help. Every year, it draws hundreds of people.

“The art show encompasses as many people as possible and giving them the opportunity to shine. A lot of people with disabilities do art, but a small handful of people get to see it. A few friends and family. But here, they’re exposed to several hundred people,” Chan said.

One such artist is Christopher Wooding. Even though he’s supported the show since he began working at the Victoria Disability Resource Centre more than five years ago, Wooding only started submitting his comics to the show last year.

Wooding, who uses a wheelchair, has been an artist since he was about six years old. He only started showing his work publicly shortly before his comics appeared in the 2017 show. Until then, some of his friends didn’t even know he could draw.

Publicly displaying his work for the first time was “terrifying,” he said with a laugh. “It was very surreal to hear people say how much they like the work, whereas when you’re an artist, you’re your own worst critic.”

Soon he began getting requests for commissioned work, and Wooding hopes to one day publish a book of his comics.

“This show is something I really believe in supporting because I think it’s very important for artists with disabilities to be represented and to be able to get their work out there,” Wooding said at the opening day of the 2018 show. “It’s important for everyone to have the ability to express themselves, but for a person with disabilities, it’s incredibly important because there’s so much more that we’re dealing with in life and we may not have the words or the means of being able to express ourselves. But if we can channel that all into something like lines on a page or paint on a canvas, then we can create some pretty powerful stuff.”

The artshow can be visited at 821 Fort Street. Refreshments are next door in the Victoria Disability Resource Centre, where accessible washrooms are also located. The show-end party will be held on Monday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m.

The entrance is free, as the showcase is supported by the CRD’s arts development.

“We wanted to make this as inclusive as we can, and that means making it accessible to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds,” Gordon said.

This year, the showcase will give out two peoples’ choice awards worth $100, and invites all guests to vote for their favourite artists.

READ and WATCH MORE: Victoria artist paints portraits of the homeless


@KeiliBartlett
keili.bartlett@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Christopher Wooding is displaying his graphic artwork for the second time with the Victoria Disability Resource Centre for their sixth annual show. (Keili Bartlett/News staff)

Christopher Wooding is displaying his graphic artwork for the second time with the Victoria Disability Resource Centre for their sixth annual show. (Keili Bartlett/News staff)

Wendy Young is a first time participant in the Victoria Disability Resource Centre’s annual art show. (Keili Bartlett/News staff)

Wendy Young is a first time participant in the Victoria Disability Resource Centre’s annual art show. (Keili Bartlett/News staff)

Just Posted

An SUV sits where it crashed through the front window of the 2:18 Run store in Fairfield Plaza, after the driver appeared to lose control on Monday afternoon. (Photo by Phil Nicholls)
Driver crashes through front window of Victoria running store in Fairfield

Phil Nicholls of 2:18 Run said crash sounded like an earthquake at first

Processed sewage is still being deposited at the Hartland landfill rather than sent as biosolids to a Richmond cement plant. (Black Press Media file photo)
Biosolids at Hartland still being placed on landfill in Saanich

Richmond cement plant up and running, but CRD end product not suitable for purpose

Seismic upgrading and expansion work at Victoria High School is about a year behind due to pandemic-related factors, the Greater Victoria School District announced. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Victoria High School seismic work, expansion a year behind schedule

Greater Victoria School District now targeting September 2023 for reopening of historic school

Elk Lake Drive area resident Michael Blayney protests a proposed multi-building development for his Royal Oak neighbourhood, outside Saanich municipal hall on Monday (June 14). (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Demonstrators protest 11-storey development on Elk Lake Drive in Saanich

Saanich locals gather at municipal hall to protest development, public hearing goes Tuesday

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is calling on Transport Canada to rescind its ban to Feb. 28, 2022 on cruise ship stops in Canada, to allow planning to begin in advance of a reopening of the cruise industry next year.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority seeks end to federal ban on cruise ship stops in Canada

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO hopes cruises will resume by 2022

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read