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Chelsea Gallery Unveils Photo Exhibit by Local Artists with Cerebral Palsy

By DNAinfo Staff on July 23, 2010 7:34am

By Jennifer Glickel

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

CHELSEA — A Chelsea gallery is giving its patrons the opportunity to view a collection of photography taken from a new perspective — by artists with cerebral palsy.

“Photographs from the Outside,” which opened Thursday evening at Gallery 307 in Chelsea, features work by 20 New York-based photographers whose photographs give a glimpse on what life is like through their eyes.

“It’s our mission to make sure that artists who wouldn’t otherwise have an artistic platform are kept mainstream, so the gallery is doing just that by not only giving these artists a voice, but also a wall,” said exhibit curator Marlena Vaccaro.

Because of the artists’ physical condition, many of the photos in the exhibit were taken from a seated level in a wheelchair with an adaptive camera.

“There are things that at a standing eye level you don’t see, but if you were sitting you’d see things differently and these photos come from that perspective,” Vaccaro said.

“It really gives able-bodied viewers a new perspective on a way of seeing things in a way they wouldn’t have seen things before.”

As curator, Vaccaro said she didn’t set out to create a show centered specifically on the work of photographers with cerebral palsy, but was so moved by the "simply incredible" photos from members of the Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State, she decided to host an entire exhibit.

“It had nothing to do with the fact that they were taken by people with cerebral palsy, but only made it that much more amazing that they were,” Vaccaro said.

Gallery 307 is part of the Carter Burden Center for the Aging, but while many of its exhibitions focus on bringing the work of older artists to the mainstream art sphere, the artists participating in this new show are of all different ages.

“Our goal is to give those artists who are outsiders to the galleries — whether they’re older, mentally disabled, physically handicapped, or self-taught — a way in,” Vaccaro said.

“A lot of this work was beautifully done in spite of the artists having cerebral palsy, but what’s fascinating is that a lot of it was beautiful because the artists have cerebral palsy.”

"Photographs from the Outside" opened Thursday evening at Gallery 307 and runs through August 20th. Gallery 307 is located at 307 Seventh Avenue between 27th and 28th Streets.