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People in the Arts

Here are a very few of the many highly accomplished people who work in diverse fields of the arts and also have a disability.

Jaehn Clare and Her Box of Imagination

"A box of imagination" is how Jaehn Clare sees the classroom. She is Professional Learning Drama Teaching Artist at The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. She is a past company member of Full Radius Dance, Atlanta's only integrated (dancers with and without disabilities) professional modern dance company. The versatile Clare is also a writer, including the essay "I Wasn't Born a Mermaid" in From There to Here, a collection of essays written by survivors of spinal cord injury.
Photo Credit: Billy Howard, 2010

Henry Butler: A Rich Crescent City Heritage

Jazz and blues musician, recording artist, and educator Henry Butler has earned eight nominations for the W.C. Handy “Best Blues Instrumentalist - Piano” award. Born in New Orleans with blindness caused by glaucoma, he mastered a variety of instruments and pursued graduate training as classical and operatic vocalist.

As if his musical credentials were not enough, Butler is also an accomplished photographer. His work was the subject of a 2010 HBO documentary, “Dark Light: The Art Of Blind Photographers.”
Photo used with permission.

David Roche: My Face is a Gift

David Roche is a writer, humorist, motivational speaker, and performer based in British Columbia. Born in Hammond, Indiana with a severe facial disfigurement, Roche is the author of The Church of 80% Sincerity, a book based on his signature one-man show of the same name. Middle and junior high school classes across North America have experienced his educational presentation "Love at Second Sight." He and his wife Marlena Blavin talk to students about the issues of appearance and acceptability that are so relevant for those in the vulnerable years of puberty.
Photo credit: James Hall

The Miracle Images of Traci Parks

"I’m always attracted to things that are iridescent or that sparkle and it’s fun to take everyday objects and turn them into something dynamic." "Burst of Energy"   is Ohio photographer Traci Parks' vision of a votive candle holder on a Carnival glass plate. Yes it's a photograph, not digitally manipulated. Parks is legally blind. With corrective lenses, she sees only a mixture of  light, color, shape, texture and pattern beyond 10 feet. Parks' work is widely exhibited at such venues as the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum, the Art and Soul International Arts Festival, and the National Press Club.
Photo used with permission.

FLAME the Band

With 65 appearances on their 2011 tour schedule, FLAME is hot. Their ten members from upstate New York have developmental and/or physical disabilities, including autism, Down Syndrome, and blindness. This rock group has released 4 CDs and travels on a custom tour bus. Check out the band's website for mp3’s and video.
Photo used with permission.

Evelyn Glennie: Touch the Sound

Awarded Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2007 Evelyn Glennie has the distinction of being the first person to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist. As a musician, she's endowed with an additional distinction: she is profoundly deaf. Glennie, who is Scottish, has performed in more than 40 countries and gives over 100 performances in an average year. "Touch the Sound" is an award-winning documentary about Glennie and her music. She composed the score for the recently released film, "Golf in the Kingdom."
Photo credit: James Wilson, copyright Evelyn Glennie

photo of Jaehn Clare teaching workshop

Jaehn Clare

photo of Henry Butler at the piano

Henry Butler

photo of David Roche at his desk

David Roche

Burst of Energy: photograph by Traci 

Burst of Energy by Traci Parks

of the band Flame


photo of percussionist Evelyn Glennie in performance

Dame Evelyn Glennie