News Bites: Continuing Studies Shares Art with Association for Blind and Visually Impaired

Posted February 19, 2015 in Youth & Adults, Student, News Bites

DisArt Festival is still a few months away, but KCAD Continuing Studies staff and instructors are getting into the spirit of the event early.

Continuing Studies Director Brenda Sipe and instructors Hallie LeBlanc, Katherine Johnson, Mellissa Redman, and SaraJane Fellin are all contributing original artwork to an ongoing display at the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI) in Grand Rapids that, like DisArt, is aimed at making art more accessible. The artists will be featured one at a time, with their work rotating throughout the year.

work by Brenda Sipework by Brenda Sipe

ABVI works to provide support and services that increase access and opportunity for visually impaired individuals, enabling them to live with more independence and greater dignity. The organization has displayed the work of local artists before, such as Armand Merizon and Chris Stoffel-Overvoorde. It’s something ABVI Executive Director Richard Stevens says ties directly into the organization’s mission.

“We have had a number of artists over the last few years who have loaned work to us, and it just makes a huge difference in the look and feel of our building to have vibrant and colorful art on display. Our clients enjoy seeing it, but it also helps to tell the story of what we do. Because it creates an environment where people who have limited vision can still enjoy art.”

work by Melissa Redmanwork by Mellissa Redman

work by Katherine Johnsonwork by Katherine Johnson

Sipe, who first met Stevens during a Continuing Studies workshop at KCAD in the spring of 2014, also sees the collaboration as a natural fit.

“ABVI is an amazing organization that supports people with disabilities, and they also have a strong knowledge of art and how it can help them do that,” she said. “Myself and the other participants from Continuing Studies are thrilled to see our own art being used in this way.”

You can see the art by paying a visit to the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired at 456 Cherry Street SE in Grand Rapids. Learn more about the organization at