Exhibit features artists with vision loss

May 21, 2009 (CHICAGO) This is the seventh year Guild for the Blind, a not-for-profit organization, celebrates the amazing talent of artists with different vision loss.

Paintings, photographs and handcrafts are some of the pieces that have been selected for the 2009 Passionate Focus. David Tabak is the executive director of Guild for the Blind.

"It's interesting," said Tabak. "This is our seventh year. We started out just have local Chicago artists, now the majority of the artists are from across the country."

To be eligible, artists must be legally blind. Judges are not told of the extent of the artist's vision loss.

"We wanted them to be judged as artists. So what we're saying to the jury is, everyone who has joined who has submitted their work is someone with vision loss," Tabak said.

This year 160 pieces were submitted by 60 artists. Only 38 were selected for the exhibit.

"Echoing Drum From the Inside Out" by Charles Blackwell was picked best of shows.

"It's an abstract drummer, and its kinda foggy," said Blackwell. "I use my fingers, I use the bottom of my paint brush, I use an ink spout."

Blackwell has been blind since 1971.

"It was from a concussion, what they call an adema it the concussion was like nine months prior, and then months later I began to loose my eye sight," said Blackwell.

A majority of the art work is for sale. Prices range from $100 to $15,000. Seventy percent of the proceeds goes to the artist. The other 30 percent goes to organization.

"I like it because it really shows that people who are visually impaired can be anything they want to be. They can be lawyers and doctors, but they can also be artists, and they can be judged with their peers who are artists who are sighted," Tabak said.

Passionate Focus 2009 is at Xchange West, 344 N. Ogden Ave. in Chicago. The exhibit is only there until May 25. For more information call (312) 236-8569. They also sell notecards of some of the paintings.



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