Sarah Kephart, MFA, Certified Expressive Arts Facilitator, Envision Arts Program and Gallery Manager
Sarah Kephart is an experienced artist who specializes in using art as a way for youth and adults with disabilities to communicate with the world around them and explore their creative abilities. Since 2013, Kephart has served as the Art Education Teacher and became the first Envision Arts Program Manager in 2021.
In her position, Kephart has built a year-round arts program that offers daytime and after school classes, special evening and weekend workshops, special events, including local, regional, and national exhibitions. She works directly with individuals of all ages who are blind, visually impaired and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities accompanied with vision loss. Kephart also manages the sales of artwork through Envision Art on Consignment, spearheads Envision Arts Merchandise, hosts hands-on workshops with local universities and shares her experiences at conferences throughout the year.
The desire to build upon her artistic knowledge and offer increasingly innovative and therapeutic art opportunities to her students led Kephart to pursue advanced studies in expressive arts. In 2019, Kephart was named a Certified Expressive Arts Education Consultant through the Expressive Arts Florida Institute in Sarasota, and an Arts in Healthcare certification from the University of Florida, Gainesville in the Summer Intensive of 2021. In addition, Sarah graduated from the 13th class of Advance Kansas in 2021. Advance Kansas brings more than 40 leaders together from all over Kansas to create relationships and acquire skills for addressing diversity, inclusion, equity and accessibility challenges and opportunities.
Kephart’s expertise has garnered her community recognition. Wichita State University’s College of Applied Studies engaged her to develop and teach “Integrating Learning through the Arts.” The program includes two online courses for K-6 teachers who wish to incorporate expressive arts in their classrooms. In 2020, Kephart was recognized by the American Printing House for the Blind as one of the top 10 art educators in the country for the BVI. And in 2021, Sarah received the Art Advocate award from the Wichita Arts Council.
Dale Small, Envision Arts Assistant, Envision Arts Gallery Coordinator
Dale Small is an interdisciplinary artist, designer, photographer and organizer based in Wichita, Kansas. At the intersection of design, photography, writing, and new media, their work confronts issues regarding misinformation, power and privilege by emphasizing the importance of identity, memory and representation.
In 2021, Small joined the team as an Envision Arts Assistant to further advance their training in the arts, which would embody and embrace diversity and inclusion with a fresh perspective. A graduate from Wichita State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts with Image Text Ithaca at Ithaca College in New York.
Small has been influential in engaging their network of artists, gallery owners, and arts advocates with the mission and people of Envision Arts to exhibit their work and to become advocates for artists with (dis)abilities. Small is responsible for assisting in designing and conceptualizing the Envision Arts Merchandise line and the Liquid Art Winery and Estates wine labels featuring Envision Arts artwork. Small also developed Envision Your Story, a multi-modal expressive arts workshop introducing the technical and interpersonal side of storytelling through photography and video production, mediums that people would not find valuable or beneficial for those who are visually impaired and blind. The workshop participants shared their stories with the public during a temporary exhibit at WSU ShiftSpace in Groover Labs in Wichita, Kan. in 2021.
Small has created, curated, designed, and exhibited artwork in many places including Wichita, KS, the University of Nebraska, and Havana, Cuba. As an organizer and advocate for the arts, Small played a critical role in the success and historical documentation of one of the largest community projects in Wichita, Kansas: The Horizontes Project. Small has presented at art conferences, fundraising events, schools, grant workshops, universities and State Government meetings about the importance of arts funding and community-driven arts projects.
Learn more about the artists behind the Envision Arts program and their stories.
Ciara is a black woman out here conquering the world blind and all! Losing her mother at 15, and not having very much family support, she had to figure out this world on her own! She loves photography, fashion and plus size modeling. Caring for children at a young age inspired her to take on the career as an Early Childhood Educator at the Cathy G. Hudson Envision Childhood Development Center, ECDC. Her love and care for these children is phenomenal! She structures and develops these young minds socially and emotionally. Ciara is a role model, mentor, and support for young teenage girls who have experienced similar situations that she has endured. She enjoys self-care, such as, getting her nails and hair done, occasional spa days, and keeping up on her mental health. Some of her hobbies include making TikTok videos to raise awareness on blindness, listening to focus music, guided meditations, and has developed a love for art. Passionate about uplifting others, radiating positivity, her smile and laughter light up a room. Ciara takes strong interest in women’s empowerment, positive affirmations, and standing firm on equality for her Black life. Ciara’s faith in God is what keeps her going and thriving!
“Art is my therapy. I can release what’s been bottled up inside, and let it go.” - Ciara
On March 9th of 2020, the Cathy G. Hudson Envision Child Development Center welcomed one of the brightest, most passionate little learners and explorers to our Envision family, Carter. Carter, who was born with Congenital Cataracts has had the opportunity to explore and map out the world around him through a multi-sensory approach to art and creative play through the world of the expressive arts. From working in clay, dancing like a cloud, to making homemade Van Gogh art bread, Carter’s love for life and new experiences inspires his friends and teachers to be as curious and courageous and he is every day! Carter shared his story with the guests of the 2021 Evening with Envision Gala at Intrust Bank Arena entertaining the guests with his first ever comedic act, telling jokes that had everyone laughing and wanting more.
At the age of 23, Holt was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic condition that affects the retina’s ability to respond to light. This inherited disease causes a slow loss of vision, beginning with decreased night vision and a loss of peripheral vision. Roshunda joined Envision Arts, an expressive arts program for the blind and visually impaired in 2015, and has grown as a studio artist ever since, exhibiting her work both locally and nationally. In 2017, Holt installed her first solo exhibit at The Kansas University School of Medicine in Wichita, Kansas in the William J. Reals Gallery, featuring acrylic paintings and mosaic landscapes. For three years, Holt has been recognized by the American Printing House for the Blind, Annual Insight Art Exhibition in Louisville, Kentucky, and multiple pieces reside her work in their permanent art collection. In 2018, Roshunda was hired by Envision in the William B. Hudson Workforce Innovation Center as a Customer Service Specialist and continues to create art and participates in expressive arts workshops in her spare time.
Cindi is by far one of the most thoughtful, positive, and caring consumers in the Envision PRIDE program. People Reaching for Independence and the Development of Excellence. A true ray of light, Cindi has taken part in cheerleading camps, and volunteers at a local bingo every Wednesday, where she gets to cheer and route for all the players. For the last 10 years, Cindi has participated in the Envision Arts program where she has excelled in creating some wildly vivid, and heavily layered collages using large crayons, stamps, and stickers. Cindi’s work was recently featured at Douglas and Market as part of the A Window into Wichita Art project, and in a group exhibition at WAVE a local music venue in downtown Wichita, Kansas.
Denae Adwell was raised in Valley Center, Kansas, graduating from Valley Center High School in 2018. After high school, Denae attended Chisholm Life skills, a school designed to provide life skills training for students with various challenges. As a young girl, Denae was diagnosed with having a brain tumor, that led to aggressive treatments all throughout her upbringing at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City. The treatment ultimately caused a rare form of a visually impairment, leaving her with double vision, where she sees two of everything and has no depth perception. Denae is now 20 years old and has been creating art at Envision Arts for 10 years. Denae has had her work in many exhibitions, but her most significant was her tactile replica of Benny Andrews, Symbols, a work of art in the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University and installed on a billboard as a part of the award-winning community project, Ulrich + Artist + You Billboard Project. The work, along with five other pieces from the Ulrich collection, were featured in Tactile Replications at Mark Arts in Wichita, Kansas.
Grace Rosson is a bright and enthusiastic 2 ½ year old that has overcome so much in her short life. Grace was born 10 weeks early weighing 3lbs 5ozs at birth. At 5 days old, she was life-flighted to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City due to a congenital heart defect. At 12 days old, she had surgery to repair the coarctation of her aorta. Due to this defect, Grace will have another heart surgery as she grows and will need to see a cardiologist regularly for her entire life. Grace started wearing corrective lenses at 10 months old due to severe far sightedness and strabismus. She had her first eye muscle surgery to correct her strabismus right after her second birthday. In Spring of 2021, Grace was diagnosed with a mild form of cerebral palsy that has prevented her from being able to walk independently. Despite these diagnoses, Grace is a smart, energetic and joyful toddler. She enjoys playing with her little sister, Bella, reading books, taking family walks and visiting the zoo. Grace has a vivid imagination and a consistent smile. She loves spending her days with the staff and students at the Cathy G. Hudson Envision Childhood Development Center, ECDC.
Growing up in Wichita, Lauren Bush, has been involved with Envision since a young girl. From clinical services that have taught her Braille and to navigate the public bus system, to attending support programs like Envision’s Level Up Assistive Technology Camp, and Golf Clinic, they have all fostered her independence, and have improved her life overall. Lauren has participated in many studies at Envision in the Envision Research Institute, advancing the scientific work in the field of low vision. When Lauren began Envision Arts, she inspired by Anime, and began to develop her own characters. Now, Laure inspires her classmates taking up knitting, ceramics, painting, and paper crafts. Lauren has placed in the American Printing House for the Blind Insight Art Exhibit, traveling to Louisville, Kentucky as an ambassador for Envision and Envision Arts as she received her award for sculpture. In 2021, Lauren participated in the Envision Your Story expressive arts workshop and art exhibit at Wichita State University ShiftSpace Gallery, where her video project and accompanying ceramic work depicted the adversity one faces each day with vision loss. Lauren is now a student at Butler Community College, pursuing a path in the culinary arts.
Norman was born and raised in New York. After moving to Wichita, he found his home away from home at Envision’ s PRIDE program, People Reaching for Independence and the Development of Excellence. Norman is a kind, gentle man who absolutely loves music from the 70’s era, excels in music trivia games, and never misses an opportunity to participate in karaoke on Friday’s at Envision. As a member of the Envision Arts program, Norman, despite his vision loss and limited mobility, is a hard-working, committed student determined to make ceramic work and art for his family and friends. Norman has also been selling his work through the Envision Art on Consignment program, where 70% of each sale goes directly to the artist. Norman’s art has been featured in the Aloft Hotel of Northeast Wichita and at City Arts located in Oldtown in Wichita, Kansas.
Patrick has dedicated his studio practice at Envision Arts to exploring two-dimensional spatial relationships using stickers of all varieties, while pushing three-dimensional boundaries as he layers, stacks, and creates different forms on paper, found objects, and more. Patrick, is methodical in all he creates. This work is often described as “Outsider Art” and has been on display in downtown Wichita in vacant window storefronts managed by the Wichita Creatives Cohort, A Window Into Wichita Art, AWIWA. In September of 2021, Patrick has his first solo exhibition, Layered, at the Salina Community Theater in Salina, Kansas. Work like Patrick's is known as Outsider Art that almost always employ techniques that consist of repetition. Patterns are obsessively created using marks, bounded or created using one particular material that is repeatedly executed to bring satisfying comfort and order to life amidst the chaos.
The term, Art Brut, or “raw art” was coined by the French artist, Jean Dubuffet, in the 1950s to categorize artwork that was made by introverted, isolated, and under-represented artists of the time. Art Brut, now known more commonly as, Outsider Art, was introduced in 1972 by the English academic, Roger Cardinal, determined to “shine light on the art made by artists usually untrained, living quietly, and somewhere sheltered.” (The Art Story Foundation©2021)
Tomiyo grew up on Okino-Erabu-Shima, a small island located north of the Island of Okinawa. As a very young child she grew up watching the native flowers of Japan delicately bloom, while at the same time watching them dance with great strength in the typhoon forced winds. Tomiyo moved to the United States in 1995 and soon thereafter started losing her vision. Tomiyo was no longer able to recognize or differentiate colors in her visual field as Retinitis Pigmentosa set in, shrinking her peripheral vision with time, leaving her with only a pinhole of vision remaining. Tomiyo spent much of her career honoring the traditions of Japanese art and tradition hosting origami workshops in California and New York, and eventually selling her work at the Wichita Art Museum. In 2019, Tomiyo was awarded a $5,000 grant to create her first public work art, Maitreya, which was selected by Downtown Wichita to be designed and permanently installed in downtown Wichita, Kansas in Gallery Alley. Maitreya is composed of three shapes, a circle, rhombus, and a triangle filled with ceramic flowers that are native from her home land to address unity, peace, and harmony. Tomiyo recently exhibited an installation in Salina, Kansas at the Flower Nook with a 15’ ceramic flower screen. Currently Tomiyo’s work placed 2nd in the Sculpture category of the American Printing House Annual Insight Art Exhibit and her work is featured in their annual calendar.
Fabian is the oldest brother of three boys, all of which are members of Envision’s PRIDE program, People Reaching for Independence and the Development of Excellence. Fabian has always had a natural gift of representational drawing, with a keen understanding of perspective, depth, and space. ORECK XL Vacuums, garages and garage door openers, as well as Wahl Clipper sets is his most trusted source of imagery that he pulls from in his practice. Items that are found in the home, and that he researches online to understand form, function, and the sounds of each item, bringing each drawing to life through their hyper-realistic sounds. Ever since he was born, Fabian has also been able to play the piano. Although he cannot read music, he can play by ear. His love for music definitely comes through his drawings and his rendering of an old school boom box is printed on t-shirts at through the Envision Arts merchandise line thanks to the support of Steve Ehmann and Profile Films. Fabian has had a solo art exhibition at HumanKind, and has participated in nearly every single group art exhibition with Envision Arts.
Christina is a talented, and loving mother of six children who, along with her daughter’s Shelbie and Madison, all share the same eye disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa. Christina’s world began to darken when she was in grade school, and is now almost Total Blind. Although Christina still loves getting her hands in clay and throwing pottery on the wheel at Envision Arts where she has attended classes since 2013, her true passion is making jewelry. Christina is now known as the “mouthbeader,” as she is dependent on using her mouth to create her intricate work. From working with small, seed beads to creating bracelets and necklaces with a Native American flair, to using rivets to create inspirational quotes in Braille on leather cuff bracelets, Christina continues to push herself as a jewelry maker despite her vision loss.
Christina’s work has won her multiple awards in the Annual Insight Art Exhibition at the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky, where her beaded art is now a part of their private art collection. Christina currently has work on display at the Aloft Hotel.
“I had gotten to a point in my life where I didn’t even want to get dressed. Envision Arts got me out of my pajamas.” - Christina
Dallas was diagnosed as legally blind when she was only four months old. Her parents, Sarah and Chad were referred to the Cathy G. Hudson Envision Child Development Center, ECDC, when she was infant, offering home-based services provided by the center to learn techniques to help their daughter develop more successfully. Soon thereafter, Dallas, joined the ECDC, where they not only covered the costs of her daycare, but provided critical, life-enhancing skills from Braille training, orientation, and mobility services to navigate the world using her white cane, and participating in activities such as art and music. Now 8 years old and a student at Isley Elementary, where the Teachers for Students with Visual Impairments, TSVI, for USD 259 is based, Dallas placed in the top 10 out of 200 contestants in the national Braille competition back in July. Thanks to the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Dallas gets Braille books shipped to her with her favorites being the “Mama-Llama” series. Dallas also attends the Envision Arts After-School Art Club for Youth and Teens, and her passion for music is evident as she has excelled in playing the piano and percussion. Dallas defies expectations each and every day despite the challenges she may face.
Erica, 63 years of age, has lived more than half of her life Wichita, and served as the first shift sergeant at the detention facility with the Sedgwick County sheriff’s department. After retirement, Erica was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 with multiple myeloma, a rare blood disorder that affects the bone marrow. She started losing vision little-by-little due to her illness. Her blood pressure rose too much causing the blood vessel to rupture in her eyes and then an ocular branch inclusion which led to a detached retina. Erica’s vision loss caused great depression. She was soon referred to Dr. Fletcher in the Envision Vision Rehabilitation Center where she received a variety of services designed to improve her quality of life. Opportunity and inspiration came to her through the Envision Adult Support Program offered through the Community Programs division, encouraging her to attend her first art class at Envision Arts. Erica has excelled in ceramics, selling her work at the Annual Arts and Crafts Bazaar, giving her the confidence to submitting her work in the Annual Insight Art Exhibition at the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky. Erica has had her work displayed with A Window into Wichita Arts (AWIWA) at Douglas and Market, and is slated for a solo show in the Patricia Peer Window Gallery at the Envision Arts Gallery and Community Engagement Center in April 2022. Erica is inspired by her family, loves to travel, and shares her work on YouTube channel.
My name is Laridda Williams and my story begins when I was born in Topeka, Kansas. My parents noticed I wasn't doing things that most babies were, and they took me to get many tests and procedures. It was determined that my retinas didn't develop all the way and I would be blind the rest of my life. I did a lot of things that most children did from running, playing, attending school and playing the violin, while having a good time with my family and friends. As time went on people started to change and so did I. I attended the Kansas State School for the Blind in Kansas City, where I learned to play the piano, ran track and field, and was a cheerleader. While there I gained a great education and valuable tools to be successful to live and work on my own. Over the years I grew a passion for working with children and it all started when my nephew was born when I was 11 years old. I am now an Early Childhood Educator at the Cathy G. Hudson Envision Child Development Center in the Transition One classroom.
Larrida participates in evening expressive arts classes and has exhibited her work at the Mid-American All-Indian Center and the Wichita State University ShiftSpace Gallery at Groover Labs.
“You never know who your positivity will influence and affect. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you or tell you that you can’t do what you put your mind to.” - Larrida
Nick grew up attending the Maize school system, and then later went on to study at the Helen Keller School on Long Island in New York due to his vision and hearing loss. To advance his independence and confidence, his family knew that the Helen Keller School would assist in advancing his studies in Braille and American Sign Language, ASL. During his time there, a teacher introduced him to creating sculptural forms with construction paper and a stapler. Nick joined Envision Arts in 2016 and has pushed the boundaries of his sculptural work using new mediums and techniques that captivate viewers by the way he manipulates space with paper and mixed media materials. Nick has a permanent art installation at 86 Cold Press at 600 E Douglas in Downtown Wichita, Kansas, where a grid of 9 geometric sculptures out of Braille paper mounted on 12” square boards. T-shirts with Nick’s installation can be purchased at the juice bar through our Envision Merchandise line.
My name is Owen Henning and I am almost 7 years old. I go to Isley Elementary and attend the VI, [visually impaired] program where I am learning to read and type Braille. When I am not building garage structures for all of my hot wheels, I enjoy paly with my brother, Crosby. He’s 3 years old and hopefully we will be able to attend the same school when he gets old enough. I miss hanging out with him throughout the day.
Owen joined the Envision Arts After-School Art Program for Youth and Teens this semester, and his work is featured in the Chainlink Gallery Place at 121 E Douglas in downtown Wichita, Kansas. Owen’s family learned about Envision through Isley Elementary, and is now starting to attend Community Programs with his family that are sponsored by Envision, such as outings at the Sedgwick County Zoo for Winter Wednesdays.
Savannah is a happy, and enthusiastically creative member of Envision’s PRIDE Program, People Reaching for Independence and the Development of Excellence. Savannah has a repetitive pattern to her mark-making technique, creating continuous spirals, and is always so excited to use new mediums to express her spirals. In 2016, 6 of her works were selected to be installed as the opening art exhibition in the lobby for nearly three years. One is featured in the Envision Art Gallery and Community Engagement Center exhibition. In collaboration with Liquid Art Winery and Estates in Manhattan, Kansas, a special, limited edition wine labels featuring the artwork in the Envision logo by two artists from the Envision Arts program. Savannah’s art can be found on the Reserve Chardonnay wine label. Savannah’s work can also be viewed at 86 Cold Press at 600 E Douglas in downtown Wichita.