It is hard to believe that January is half over. I haven’t done a year in review post about the interesting direction that 2017 took for my art. First and foremost, February 2017 saw the debut of my Landscapes of the Body project at Access Gallery in the Santa Fe Art District here in Denver. The Executive Director of the gallery, Damon McLeese coordinated a fantastic show during the Month of Photography. The project saw great reception after a feature FOX news segment and stories in several national photographic publications as well as local magazines. This led to an overwhelming opening with thousands of people seeing the exhibition. This was truly a humbling experience for me.
While promoting my exhibition, something quite unexpected happened. A member of the Delta Gamma sorority at CU Boulder got in touch with me about a Kansas based non-profit organization called Heather’s Camp. She told me that they provide a summer camp experience for kids who are blind and visually impaired. 2017 marked the first time Heather’s Camp would hold a camp outside of Kansas. It so happened that the camp was going to be in Estes Park Co. – they asked if I would be interested in coming up, meeting the kids and talking about my vision loss and art. I spoke with Damon McLeese from the gallery about giving a talk and since he was a TED talk alum, he offered to help me put together a speech. Things seemed to fall into place, my biggest concern was getting up in front of people and talking about my vision loss and my feelings in general. I saw it as a personal growth opportunity and ran toward the goal with my head down. I ended up giving speeches in Estes Park and at the main Heather’s Camp in Wichita Kansas. While there, since I love to share knowledge – especially about photography I taught a workshop at both camps on the 1855 photographic process called Cyanotypes. My wife Carrie and good friend Gail Adams helped immensely in the workshops. The kids seemed to have fun, and I think they accidentally learned something about the history of photography.
I really loved talking to people (though it is a bit terrifying) and sharing the story behind my vision loss and my art. I ended up doing similar talks at The Dairy Arts Center in Boulder Co. and Madelife gallery in Boulder Co. I look forward to more lectures this year. Many thanks to Damon for not only his help in getting the speech content together and “speechifying” it, but giving me the confidence to get up in front of people and talk about things that I have never discussed in public.
Philanthropy has continued to be a love of mine this year. I donated pieces to Access Gallery for their annual fundraiser, and well as my time to Heather’s Camp and even donated work to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This year I will be working with Lighthouse for the Blind – who knows where that will lead.
Coming early this year will be a feature piece in 5280 Magazine on the Landscapes of the Body as well as my vision loss. I will continue to blog more, it is shaping up to be a great year.