Sunday, May 28, 2000

Exhibit by deaf artists to open

Touring display stops in Newport

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        NEWPORT — Brenda Schertz is animated when she explains, through sign language and facial expressions, the many facets of the work of deaf artists on display at the World Peace Bell Exhibit Center.

        Ms. Schertz, guest curator for the exhibit, called Elements of A Culture: Visions by Deaf Artists, emphasizes that deaf art is a minority art, something in which the artists can take particular pride while expressing their feelings about being deaf.

        The show, which runs through June 22, is a juried collection of works by 16 deaf artists working in varied styles and media. The exhibit covers work completed between 1972 and 1999.

        Ms. Schertz, a New Englander who entered the Art Institute of Boston intending to study music, instead found herself involved in the study of deaf art in 1991 and 1992. She then worked with others on exhibits at national deaf studies conferences.

        “People came and saw the works, and they discussed it and liked it,” she said. As a result, she was asked to set up the first full deaf art exhibit in 1995.

        The new touring exhibit came to Northern Kentucky in conjunction with DeaFestival 2000 today at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

        DeaFestival celebrates the language, culture and diversity of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community and its contributions to Kentucky. Admission is free to the festival, which will include music, dance, magic and storytelling.

        All the events will be in American Sign Language, but will also be interpreted into spoken English.

        The deaf artists exhibit, which premiered in Seattle last year, features paintings and sculptures expressing the joy and pain of the deaf and pointing to sign language as an art form as well as a means of communication.

        Ms. Schertz said the exhibit attracted more than 3,000 people in Seattle in four weeks, and more than 1,000 in Boston in two weeks.

        “We find that more art students now want to learn more about deaf students and deaf art after seeing the exhibit,” she said.

        The deaf artists exhibit, sponsored by the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through June 22 at the World Peace Bell Exhibit Center.

        On Wednesday nights during the exhibit, there will be signers on hand for deaf and hard-of-hearing visitors to better enjoy the art.

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