Local artists with intellectual disabilities selected to appear at prestigious New York Outsider Art Fair
Three artists from Blank Canvas Studios and Fine Line Studios, St. Louis-area art programs for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities will have their work featured at the Sanford Smith Outsider Art Fair, the world’s foremost international marketplace for outsider art.
Now all they have to do is get there!
Artwork by local artists Heidi Stuber, Ruth Loeffler and Yamada Verges will be featured at the Sanford Smith Outsider Art Fair Jan. 27-29. Their studios are scrambling to raise the money to send them, with help from DDRB, hoping that they can be there when their art is unveiled.
“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.”
Heidi is an extremely talented artist who draws on past experiences for her inspiration. Heidi’s art often parallels milestones in her own life. Heidi’s mother was an accomplished quilter who often included Heidi in her elaborate creations, and Heidi’s earlier works often mirror these moments in her life. Most recently, Heidi has been drawing on other streams of inspiration. She enjoys museum and gallery viewings and is constantly working to improve her technique. Heidi has a unique blend of colors, often using darker shades and bringing out their vibrancy. Heidi also designs wearable art and has been displayed in wearable art shows alongside mainstream artists. Heidi currently lives in St. Peters, Mo., and creates her art at RHD-MO Blank Canvas Studios. Check out Heidi’s reaction to the news and a brief profile of her art at the bottom of the page!
Versatile. Volatile. Visionary. Ruth Loeffler is the embodiment of Art Brut. Ruthie, as she is affectionately known in her studio, is a one-of-a-kind artist, who works in multiple mediums. It is not uncommon for Ruth to have multiple projects going on at once. Her art has involved installation pieces, paintings, photographs, and any other method of expression Ruthie feels compelled to work on that day. Ruthie excels at poetry, often having a Kerouac feel to her writings, and her ability to combine seemingly unrelated symbology to her words is extraordinary. Ruthie is currently working on a collection of her photographs that combines her unique view of the world with selections of her writing. Ruthie lives in O’Fallon, Mo., and creates her art at RHD-MO Blank Canvas Studios.
With an easily recognizable style, Yamada Verges conjures a bright, hip-hop sensibility that is hinged on his unique life perspective. The youngest of 8 children, Yamada is a prolific visual artist with an urban savvy evident in his bold drawings and paintings. Yamada has made deliberate choices to forge ahead in life with a simple, self-proclaimed readiness to promote the betterment of humanity. Social icons of military power and martial artists mix easily with more benign, cartoonish elements of cheerful naivete. It is this seamless blending of paints, text (his rap moniker, Jay-Dogg, being frequently displayed) and linear geometry that make Yamada’s 2-D works hugely accessible. Yamada lives in St. Louis, and creates his art at RHD-MO Fine Line Studios, which has been an incubator for Yamada’s desire to establish his individuality and his drive for leadership among his peers and his community.
Blank Canvas Studios and Fine Line Studios are 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. They are part of RHD-Missouri, a program of national nonprofit Resources for Human Development. RHD has long embraced art programs as a major part of its 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. With this invitation to the Sanford Smith Outsider Art Fair, Blank Canvas Studio and Fine Line Studio have established themselves as among the most highly-regarded outsider art studios in 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 Dane Elrod, director of Fine Line Studios. “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.”
The Sanford Smith Outsider Art Fair is Jan. 27-29. For more information, please see http://www.sanfordsmith.com
You can see all of the works that our talented artists are sending to the Big Apple here!
Since the publishing of this press release, the artists have been given the incredible opportunity to travel along with their art to New York City. This was made possible through a partnership with the Missouri DDRB, who have agreed to match the funds raised to send the artists and several of their staff to the internationally renowned festival.
To find out more about the DDRB and the amazing work that they do, click HERE.
The artists have returned and the trip was an outstanding success! Click HERE to see a special retrospective video about the trip, complete with photos of our artists and their adventure in the Big Apple.