Student Curates Second Exhibition

Art History student curates exhibition in the River Arts District

"Art is a Human Right for Everybody": Works from Open Hearts Art Center, second exhibition curated by Art History graduating senior Hannah Wiebke.

When: April 27 - May 15, 2016
Where: Project Space at REVOLVE and Orange Space at Cotton Mill Studios, 132 Riverside Drive, Asheville, NC
Reception and Performance, May 6, 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. (Performance at 5:30 p.m.)
Gallery Hours: for information on gallery
All events are free and open to the public.

I would say that not just me, but everybody is an artist. You can look for the definition of an artist. There are many. I tried to find one and I came to the conclusion that an artist is a person that knows how to live. Not that you are just very skilled making a product. Even when you prepare your breakfast, you can be an artist at breakfast. Or, you have a very good friend, you can be an artist as a friend too. Everything in life you can put your art. So if that is true, I am an artist…I think it [art] is a human right for everybody. Everybody’s supposed to do art. —Jose, artist at Open Hearts Art Center.

Society often regards those with disabilities to be less capable of having creative capacities and social relationships. Open Hearts Art Center (OHAC), a nonprofit organization in Asheville, North Carolina, seeks to change that perception and empower individuals with intellectual disabilities to create works of art. Established in 2005, OHAC serves forty-five artists in the Western North Carolina region. OHAC is a place where artistic expression blends with habilitative care. The artists of OHAC work primarily in a group setting, which not only aids in the development of social skills, but also helps to support an artistic community. Artists attend classes ranging from painting and sculpture, to dance, music, and songwriting. They also have the option to sell their work in the community through a variety of venues.

“Art is a Human Right for Everybody” is the culmination of Hannah Wiepke’s yearlong internship experience at Open Hearts Art Center coupled with undergraduate research on curatorial best practices. Her project, curated public exhibitions and website, challenges the pervasive medical model that frames disability and furthers a meaningful examination of artwork created by the OHAC community through narratives gleaned from artists’ interviews and audience feedback. The exhibition originated at UNC Asheville and now travels to Project Space at REVOLVE and Orange Space at the Cotton Mill Studios in the River Arts District in Asheville with new artwork and double in size. Additionally, as part of the reception festivities on Friday, May 5, 2016, there is a performance component at 5:30 p.m.

This project is sponsored by Curatoria, an interdisciplinary collective of UNC Asheville students, faculty, and other scholars dedicated to cultivating and supporting innovative approaches to displaying and interpreting visual culture. Programming developed by Curatoria reflects student and educator-driven subjects that are studied intently and deeply, with the goal of fostering intelligent empathizers and meaning-makers in participants and audiences. The collective seeks to explore and experiment with different strategies for bringing visual culture to audiences by attending to both problematizing the content deemed as appropriate to art venues and to rethinking the ways in which works are typically curated. While crossing disciplinary lines, Curatoria’s projects also strive to promote collaborations with diverse Asheville communities, thereby moving from theoretical and abstract considerations of these issues to more dynamic, in-field contexts where our pedagogies provide students with real-world problem solving.

For information on the project and images from the first exhibition, follow this link.