THE HISTORY OF VISIONARIES AND VOICES
The concept for Visionaries + Voices emerged in 2001 when Keith Banner and Bill Ross curated an exhibition in Base Gallery for artists Paul Rowland, Richard Brown, Antonio Adams, and Raymond Thunder-Sky. Bill and Keith both worked for county boards serving individuals with disabilities and had met these artists in the course of their work. After that initial exhibition, more opportunities arose to organize shows and to present the work of artists with disabilities.
By 2002, the network of artists that were interested in exhibiting had grown and, prompted by an idea from Antonio, this loose collective of artists began to seek out a space to function as a group studio. With the help of Carolee Kamlager and United Cerebral Palsy Center of Greater Cincinnati, they were able to find a home in the Essex Studios and opened their doors for artists of all abilities to make, market, and celebrate their art.
By 2003, Visionaries + Voices had become a full 501(c)3 non-profit organization and were serving up to 30 artists per week including founding artists Antonio Adams and Raymond Thunder-Sky.
In the spring of 2007 the opportunity arose to open a satellite studio in the Tri-County area, thanks to the generosity of FrameUSA and its President, Dan Regenold. Using a corner of the FrameUSA warehouse, V+V started welcoming artists from Butler and Warren County to the new studio space.
In the spring of 2008 a monumental move was made when the space at Essex Studios was vacated in favor of a large venue in Northside. With enough space for a large studio, a gallery, and administrative offices, this space would become the headquarters of V+V.
V+V now serves over 150 artists each week and presents 5 exhibitions per year in our Northside Gallery along with a growing number of exhibitions in wide variety of venues throughout the region and beyond. In 2004, Raymond Thunder-Sky passed away. His legacy is commemorated on the exterior wall of V+V’s Northside Studio in a mural designed by his friend Antonio Adams (this mural was completed and dedicated by ArtWorks in 2009). V+V has also developed a groundbreaking education program that provides artists who attend the studio opportunities to present their work and teach in community and classroom settings. The Teaching Artist Program (T.A.P.) now reaches over 6,000 students each year.
What began with a simple and ingenuous vision to create a space for artists with disabilities, has become the home for hundreds of artists to find their voice within the cultural landscape of Cincinnati.
Thank you to who has embraced the spirit of V+V.