Art Beyond Boundaries Exhibits Abilities
If you have never visited 1410 Main Street in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine, I encourage you to stop by. Inside is a space where imaginations and talents are showcased, where the world can be seen from the eyes of artists from diverse perspectives.
And, it is that diversity that sets this place apart from other art exhibition halls. Artists whose work is shown at Art Beyond Boundaries Gallery may have vision impairments or they may have near perfect eye sight. They may use a wheelchair or walk with their two legs. They may have a cognitive delay or mental illness or may be the person who got all As in school.
The Gallery began in December of 2005 when the Center for Independent Living Options (CILO), a nonprofit organization that breaks down barriers and promotes inclusion and independence of people who have disabilities, opened what was to be a one time show downtown as part of the Fine Arts Sampler Weekend. The show featured pieces from regional people within our community of different abilities. That one show turned into another, which turned into another and eventually led to CILO opening a permanent exhibition venue two years later and hiring James (Jymi) Bolden as its director.
Art Beyond Boundaries’ mission is to promote awareness and understanding of artists with disabilities. The Gallery has five or six shows a year that run six to eight weeks each. Its annual exhibit called Changing Perception features the work of those with and without disabilities.
“We are about leveling the playing field so that artists can have a mainstream experience,” Jymi told me. “We do not exhibit disability. What is on our walls is ABILITY. It just so happens that the artists who created the pieces may or may not be experiencing different circumstances.”
One of the great influencers in Jymi’s own life and his passion for photography was Melvin Grier, a talented photo journalist who worked for The Cincinnati Post for 35 years. And opening this coming Friday – March 25, 2016 (with a free reception from 6 to 9 pm) – is an exhibition of Melvin’s compelling work called White People: A Retrospective. It was first shown at the Kennedy Heights Arts Center in 2011. Purchased photos at the Art Beyond Boundaries show running through May 13, 2016, will benefit the Avondale Youth Council.
Please come back to my blog this week to learn more about Melvin.