Nation's First Art Gallery Exhibiting Art for and by Blind or Visually Impaired Opens New Exhibit

By Holly Herring • Mar 30, 2022

Blog Content

The Envision Arts Gallery and Community Engagement Center to Display New Work Beginning April 1st in Downtown Wichita, Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (Mar. 30, 2022) — The Envision Arts Gallery and Community Engagement Center, which opened its doors as the first gallery in the United States made by and for artists with vision loss, will debut its second exhibition on April 1st. Envision, the nation’s premier service provider to and employer of individuals who are blind or visually impaired, opened the art gallery in downtown Wichita, Kansas in January 2022.  

The second Envision Arts Gallery exhibition, Where the Sky Touches the Sea, has been designed to showcase two specific Envision Arts program’s dedicated artists who are primarily blind or visually impaired: Memory of Waves by Erica Johnson and Fusion by Tomiyo Tajiri. Erica’s first solo exhibition features ceramic artwork shown in the Patricia A. Peer Window Gallery while Tomiyo’s retrospective exhibition spans more than 20 years of her artistic creation featuring ceramic, washi paper installations and more in the Main Exhibition Hall. 

Memory of Waves by Erica Johnson and Fusion by Tomiyo Tajiri

The exhibition will be open to the public April 1 through May 27. A free and public opening reception event will be Friday, April 1, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. 801 East Douglas, Suite 106, Wichita, Kansas. Throughout the evening gallery visitors can meet the artists, experience their artwork and participate in art activities inspired by their creations.
  
“Prior to my visual impairment, I have memories of waves,” said Erica Johnson. “I love how the water in the ocean moves. And just like the ocean, sometimes life can be truly unpredictable. Now on my new journey, I’m moving forward to new beginnings and opportunities.” 

“The Envision Arts Gallery and Fusion has been a gift to my life and has given me energy. I’m so thankful for the arts program to dedicate their time to make my day and life,” said Tomiyo Tajiri.

Art education and access disproportionally favor those who are sighted even though there is a community of over 23 million blind and visually impaired (BVI) individuals in the United States (2018 National Health Interview Survey). The Envision Arts Gallery sets a new standard of equal access art by being the premier and national destination for BVI artists and audiences, those with Intellectual and Development Disabilities (IDD), as well as sighted and neurotypical audiences. 

In addition to the two solo exhibitions, the gallery will host an interactive wall where gallery visitors can make air-dry clay pieces and bend and fold traditional Origami paper to take flight and reclaim their creative journey by adding it to the community installation wall. 

“Erica and Tomiyo have been a prominent part of the Envision Arts program for several years now and I am so proud and honored they chose Envision as a place to not only grow as an artist, but to grow their emotional strength and well-being,” said Sarah Kephart, Envision Arts Program and Gallery Manager. “Please visit the gallery in April or May to experience their transformational artwork and stories.”

As the gallery space rotates throughout the year, the exclusive exhibits will host a variety of groups and artists focusing on those with disabilities including nationally renowned BVI artist John Bramblitt, whose art has been sold in over 100 countries around the world. An exhibition dedicated to Bramblitt will be available in September of this year and will feature an artist talk presentation, a multi-sensory painting workshop, an exclusive virtual Q&A session, a fundraising event and more. 

The year-round Envision Arts program has been using expressive arts to help foster mind, body and spirit healing through multidimensional and sensory art for many years. The Envision Arts Gallery has continued the momentum of the program and aims to empower artists and audiences who are blind, visually impaired, and disabled by providing a safe and supportive platform to exhibit, perform and engage to promote a culture of inclusion and accessibility to the arts for all.

All proceeds from artwork and merchandise purchased from the gallery directly support the artists and helps the Envision Arts program. Learn more about the Envision Arts Gallery and Community Engagement Center by visiting envisionartsgallery.com or by calling (316) 440-1699. 

The Envision Arts Gallery and Community Engagement Center is in the old Patrick Hotel building in downtown Wichita's Historic Union Station area at 801 East Douglas, Suite 106, managed and owned by Occidental Management.

About Envision: Envision promotes advocacy and independence for those who are blind or have low vision. Founded in 1933, Envision is one of the largest employers of individuals with vision loss in the nation. Headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, Envision’s mission is to improve the quality of life and provide inspiration and opportunity for people who are blind or visually impaired through employment, outreach, rehabilitation, education, and research. For more information, visit www.envisionus.com.

Media Contact: Holly Herring, Marketing Manager 
Office: 316-440-1531 | Email: media@envisionus.com