a vision

Intoxicated – with beautiful weather, pure-hearted people, and a future that is blossoming in front of me.
This is the feeling that occupied all corners of my mind and body as I walked out of the Center for Nonprofit Management yesterday here in Nashville.  I had just spent seven hours in a workshop with some of the most passionate and dedicated people I have ever met.  We were all there with one common goal: how to become more knowledgeable and better equipped at grant writing. With over more than 1.5 million nonprofits functioning in the United States, completion is high amongst grant writers to receive funding to continue the forward progress of their nonprofits.
The people I met yesterday were inspiring.  Each person came with dedication and optimism. Many talked of their dedication with heart and soul, fully convinced in the mission and goals of their nonprofit. This leads to the possible impact that could affect an individual, ultimately changing lives and fostering a better community.
This impassioned environment only nurtured my own desire to cultivate a growth and further appreciation in the arts.  It seems lately I have been blessed with opportunities and connections, many of which, have helped guide me through the overwhelming labyrinth of a senior getting ready to graduate.  Many times my connections and experiences will lead me in the right direction, where I only end up being turned around again due to hesitation.  Ultimately, it is their advice and my own decision that will lead me closer to the center of what I want to do with my life.
Visionaries and Voices is a Cincinnati born nonprofit that opened 10 years ago when two case managers for Developmental Disabilities Services came into contact with self-taught artist through their jobs.  As of 2003, Visionaries and Voices is recognized as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.    Showing great support from the community V&V has expanded to two locations allowing various artists with disabilities into the studio to create, sell, and celebrate their work!
Last summer I had the amazing opportunity of seeing their Northside Gallery while I was an intern at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati. The work I saw here was amazing! Completely outstanding.  Each artist manifested their unique style through the various mediums they used.  One artist was keene to painting rhythmic polka-dots on empty pop cans he collected, one payed tribute to her favorite country singers by rendering the figures in traditional portraiture, another drew inspiration from comic books and is developing a story of his own.
I also was able to see some of Courttney  Cooper’s work, a rising artist with celebratory status.  He generates large scale 3-D arial views of Cincinnati – all executed from memory! An excerpt from his profile states:

These maps take form on pieces of paper he glues together, adding space as he needs it to draw out the obsessive, highly detailed, tapestry-like ink drawings of Cincinnati neighborhoods with his ‘Bic’ pens. Courttney often walks the streets of the city, committing all the places he visits down to memory. This is a unique and astounding process that he has been using since he was a child. Each of his drawings includes current construction and demolition sites, as well as many personal additions expressing current seasons, events, and projects going on locally. Through out the sprawling maps are written thoughts and phrases hidden beneath the landscape and revealed within the open white space of the paper. Courttney’s pictorial portrayal of the city through a fine clustering of lines and detail create a unique and awe inspired image of his surroundings.”

These artists are truly inspiring.

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