VSA Minnesota displays artwork by Minnesota artists with disabilities in a variety of locations. Some exhibits feature one artist, while other exhibits include the work of many artists. In some instances their disability directly influences their art; in other cases their disability has little or no effect on their work. In all instances, the artists are chosen because of the excellence of their work and their continuing dedication to their art form.
Our goal is to encourage these artists by giving them a place to exhibit and sell their artwork while increasing awareness within the general population about the creativity and talent of people with disabilities. Artworks displayed are for sale and all profits go to the working artist.
One long-standing art venue for VSA Minnesota is Vision Loss Resources, Inc. in Minneapolis. Its mission is to assist people who are blind or visually impaired in achieving their full potential and to enrich the lives of all persons affected by blindness or vision loss. Their offices are open Monday-Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm.
To be considered for future VSA Minnesota art exhibits, contact exhibit coordinator Halle O’Falvey at 612-332-3888, ext. 4, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested artists can also review and complete the Exhibiting Artwork Guidelines & Form and submit to VSA Minnesota.
Cecile Bellamy & Holly Tappen
Showing October, 2017 to February, 2018
Vision Loss Resources
1936 Lyndale Ave. S.
(at Franklin Avenue)
This exhibit, part of a rotating series of exhibits coordinated by VSA Minnesota, features the artwork of Cecile Bellamy of Minneapolis and Holly Tappen of Roseville.
Cecile Bellamy‘s interest in art started when she was 11 and a teacher inspired her to take an interest in her own creativity. In 1987 her University of Minnesota Studio of Arts instructors gave her a real worldview of the business of art, not just the creation of it, and she explored the human figure from observation. In 1994 at Minneapolis College of Art and Design she learned more technical skills and developed a flair for abstract paintings as well.
Recently Cecile started to work with watercolor, experimenting with different styles, such as abstractions and impressionism to push herself in new directions.
Since starting with Spectrum ArtWorks in 2008, she has honed her artistic abilities beyond her expectations. Her goal is to continue to grow and flourish as an artist.
Cecile has exhibited with Spectrum (Ivivo), Artability, Courage Kenny and various Twin Cities businesses as well as being part of the “In Conversation” exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 2015 and “The Big Picture” at the Solar Arts Building in Minneapolis in 2016.
Some people create art because they have to. That’s Holly Tappen. With Major Depressive Disorder, she can paint during the good days and, astonishingly, during the bad days, too. While doctors keep trying to find medications that work for her, in the meantime she makes art that lifts her – and others – “up and out of our mundane thoughts and into the spirit of fresh ideas and new thoughts.”
Tappen’s art is “evolving a new expressive style, with abstract human bodies and faces still recognizable, telling a story or evoking a mood.” Having spent her childhood in New Orleans, she often paints water as a character, wildly crashing through walls, sitting in peace, or, since Hurricane Katrina, having a dangerous tone and embodying spirits struggling up and through it. Yet she always offers a touch of hope in her paintings.
Tappen’s wealth of art in her home includes collages of old maps from obsolete countries like Yugoslavia and the old USSR. She paints transparently over these maps to create unique landscapes, tearing and repositioning old borders to generate new mountains, rivers of words, valleys and clouds. She says “it is a revitalized way to look at familiar subjects in the abstract.”
Since earning her BA from Emory University in Atlanta, GA, she has continued art studies in Paris and the Republic of Georgia, studied under art mentors in St. Paul and at the Split Rock Arts Program in Cloquet, and received awards from the Highland Park Winter Festival and the U of M Department of Anthropology. She has exhibited her oil, acrylic and mixed media paintings in many solo, juried and group shows. One “terrific” event last year was the Art of Recovery exhibit at the State Arts Board for Victims of Crime — bringing “law enforcement in touch with victims who have recreated their recoveries through visual art. It had real power for all involved, and was, I think, a real boon for the arts and the crime solvers to get together in unity and appreciation.” Other shows have included the Live Bait Art Show at the Undercroft Gallery in St. Anthony, Recovery at Allina Hospital, Social Justice Restoration at Unity-Unitarian, Post-Depressionist Art at Old Man River in St. Paul, shows at 3M Corporate Headquarters, a display piece in the Hinckley Firestorm Museum collection, etc.
The main challenges Tappen faces as an artist aren’t artistic but “how can I get the work out there to be seen?” She could use a good art photographer, professional marketing tools and a website – all ways “to have my art enter the world, even when I can’t much.”
Her work is available to view at
http://www.mnartists.org/hollytappen or http://www.hollytappen.com/.