SAN DIEGO — This Saturday. April 30, a group of gifted blind artists, crafters and knitters will showcase their work at Balboa Park. In this Zevely Zone, I met the talented artisans at the Mingei International Museum.
Remember, Mother's Day is Sunday, May 8th, so if you're in need of wonderful gift ideas that you can purchase for a good cause, look no further. "I am working on one of my signature Finlan ceramic roses," said Jennifer Finlan.
About a decade ago, following a surgery, the artist found herself totally blind. "It was very scary. When I woke up everything was black, I had no sight at all I said open the blinds and turn the lights on," said Jennifer. She is one of eight blind artists from the organization Gifted Back who was forced to learn to how live life visually impaired.
"You can't see what you are doing?" I asked Joyce Porter. "No, but I can feel," said Joyce. She was working on a beautiful wreath, but probably still thinking about me working on my rhythm.
Joyce and I have met before. "Yes we have on a dance floor, ha, ha, ha," laughed Joyce. We met at the Blind Community Center. That's where Shon Mackey from Blind Rhythm was leading a class. "Yeah, see me, rocking with the shoulders and then two step," said Shon who is always smiling and dancing.
This Saturday, prepare to dance with Shon at the Mingei International Museum where all the artists will showcase their Spring Collection, finally. "I was surprised that they were not selling their wares in a public forum," said Pearl Mecenas. She founded Gifted Back so the artists could profit from their work. "Just because you are blind and visually impaired, doesn't mean that life is over," said Pearl.
When Pearl approached artist Jill Coleman. "Oh my god, I was jumping up and down, I just thought that was coolest thing ever that she was going to expose us to some really amazing things," said Jill. The artists not only want to share their work but a message. "Embrace who you are," said Shon. "Don't give up," said Jennifer. "If I can make it, you can too," said Jill. For anyone who says they can't. "I would say yes you can," said Joyce. I met them all, sitting a tables filled with amazing art that I promise your mother will love on Mother's Day.
When you face adversity, Jennifer Finlan says keep your eye on the prize. I couldn't help but notice she had a tattoo of an eye on her left hand. "Just my way of seeing people," said Jennifer who added. "It's not a disability, it's an ability." Anyone can see courage like that. "That's the purpose, ha, ha, ha," laughed Jennifer.
Gifted Blind Artists, Crafters, & Knitters will be featured at Mingei International Museum on Saturday, April 30 from 11-3 pm. The event is free to the public and will be an opportunity for the community to meet with the blind artisans and shop the Spring collection in time for Mother's Day. Gifted Back is thankful for their partners for their continued support, and collaboration:
Delta Gamma San Diego State University
Mingei International Museum
For more information on Gifted Back website click here.
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