People from AHRC New York City’s programs have long used the visual art as their preferred method of personal expression. In a first for AHRC NYC’s artists, a number of bright creative minds had submitted their artwork to The Other Art Fair, held at the Brooklyn Expo Center in the Greenpoint neighborhood in Brooklyn from November 8th – November 10th. They were selected to exhibit. All of the artists are part of AHRC NYC’s ArTech Collective, which provides opportunities for artists with disabilities to develop and express themselves creatively through inclusive, innovative and accessible approaches to traditional and new media.

Founded in 2011, The Other Art Fair is headquartered in London and presents art events to a global audience bi-annually and annually in a multitude of cities. The fair presents a curated selection of emerging artists to meet and buy directly from, all of whom are handpicked by a Selection Committee of art industry experts.

Pureness of Vision

Artists who had work featured at the fair included Jayson VallesWade DobieVanessa FelicianoNathan RubensteinDevona GambleSharon JacksonCynthia SotoJamie ArmahDavid FrancisAnthony Ferguson, and Christian Forbes. Their pieces were featured in a booth surrounded by artists from across the globe. All work featured was for sale, with pieces being sold to a wide variety of art aficionados.

Why do places like the ArTech Collective exist? We believe that accessibility to the arts and a place for creative freedom, joy, conversations, and expression is important,” said Dhanashree GadiyarProgram Manager at ArTech, and Pola-Ana Mora, Transition Developer. “Having an audience appreciate their vision and seeing red dots [indicating a sale] just brought out pure happiness in some of the artists’ faces. We are so excited for all the artists that were admired by people that loved their work.

The pieces featured generally fell under the genre of portraiture. From classic self-portrait style paintings to reinterpretations of famous works to satirical caricatures of public figures, each artist put their own mark on this beloved style.

“Proud of Myself”

The art means the world to me,” Jayson Valles, an artist since he was five years old, said. “It makes me feel happy and I enjoy it. I’m glad all the people get to see my artwork hanging on the wall.

Wade Dobie’s self-portraits, bright and bold and painted with the goal of showcasing Wade’s inner positivity, are a bit of a departure from the artist’s typical work. “I enjoy painting,” he said. “I usually draw different things like birds, butterflies, houses, and cars, things that come naturally to me. Somebody at my program taught me how to do these self-portraits.

This was Wade’s first time being featured in an artist’s fair. “It feels good to be here,” he said. “I did a good job with it. I’m proud of myself.

Congratulations to all of the artists who had their work featured and who sold artwork. Thanks to the staff members who worked tirelessly to make this opportunity possible, including Dhanashree, Pola-Ana, and Jon Bunge, as well as the many mentors who bring out the best in each creative mind daily.