OSSB Student Art Show graphic
April 29, 2019

The Third annual Ohio State School for the Blind (OSSB) Student Art Show is now on display at the State Library. The art show features seventeen mixed-media, symbolic self-portraits by the students in OSSB art teacher Rachelle Smith’s class.

Students drew inspiration from well-known artists like Frida Kahlo and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Before beginning their artworks, students participated in a brainstorming process to identify key components of their identities. Each student was then provided with a blank mask and a canvas. Students painted and attached objects to their masks and canvases. The students selected objects that they could attribute to a meaningful connection to their lives. Once the artmaking process was complete, students wrote artist statements, explaining the meaning behind their artworks.

An opening reception was held at the State Library on April 25. The student artists were recognized for their creative work and awarded certificates for exhibiting their symbolic self-portraits in the show. Joining the students at the event were OSSB Principal Danny Ransey and OSSB chaperones.  Tracy Grimm, State Library Manager of Circulation and Special Services, welcomed guests and remarks were given by OSSB Interim Superintendent Dr. Lou Maynus, Rachelle Smith, and Will Reed, Director of the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled (OLPD).

Photo of OSSB students and others at Art Show opening

Click here to view the student art on display. The students’ art will be on display for public view through May 23rd at the State Library.

The art program at OSSB allows students to explore a wide range of materials and processes. Students enjoy using clay and paint for artistic expression. They also learn art history and contemporary art and artists. This year, students have focused on storytelling in art by exploring different ways they can tell stories with their artwork.

The OSSB Student Art Show is a collaborative project of the Ohio State School for the Blind, State Library of Ohio Talking Book Program, and Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled (OLBPD).

In addition to the student art show, there is a display featuring images and reports that highlight the profound history of education and personal development for blind students in Ohio.  As the official Ohio government documents depository, the State Library houses the largest collection of Ohio’s state publications in the United States. This collection includes reports and publications chronicling the early endeavors by Ohio’s governors and legislators, appointed trustees, and school staff and administrators to support the blind education movement in the early 19th century.  The publications reflect changes over time not only in the governance, overseeing state agencies, locations, and name of the school, but also in the cultural shift of public perceptions of blindness and developments in education theory and practice. Early reports detail a robust academic curriculum, collections and use of their library, religious instruction, physical fitness, and skills development for self-dependence.

Library service for the blind and physically handicapped in the United States is delivered through a network of libraries and agencies coordinated by the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). The Ohio Talking Book Program provides free recorded books, magazines and playback equipment to approximately 15,000 eligible blind, visually impaired, physically disabled and reading disabled Ohio residents.

The Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled (OLBPD) is part of the Cleveland Public Library. In partnership with the State Library of Ohio Talking Book Program, OLBPD serves as the Regional Library for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) of the Library of Congress, and administers a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the State of Ohio by postage-free mail.

The Ohio State School for the Blind, a publicly funded educational facility, is dedicated to the intellectual, social, physical, and emotional growth of all students with visual impairments. Its mission is to work cooperatively with students, families, and the community to provide an effective, enjoyable educational experience through specialized curriculum, equipment, materials, and individualized, disability-specific instruction to develop its students’ unique potential.

Media Contact:

Marsha McDevitt-Stredney, Public Information Officer and Director, Marketing & Communications (614) 644-6875 marshams@library.ohio.gov