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“Visionary Streetscapes” features work by Oscar Azmitia, Susan Brown, Chase Ferguson and Howard Schefflin, four self-taught artists affiliated with Pure Vision Arts, a studio and exhibition space catering to artists with autism and other developmental disabilities. The collaboration came about after one of the directors of the Shield Institute, which sponsors Pure Vision Arts, approached the City Reliquary about working with the studio’s artists.
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Visionary Streetscapes: Works from Pure Vision Arts Program, opens Jan. 21
This exhibit features work from autistic artists including Oscar Azmitia, Susan Brown and Chase Ferguson. They created art reflecting their impressions of public spaces in the city. Ferguson, interested in the city’s transit systems, made sculptures of buses and taxis.
(Hours: Thursday to Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. Admission: $5 general, $4 students, all others, free.) Click here to read the full article

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Lynn Stein, the creative director of RoCA, and Peter Artin, associate curator of this exhibition, contacted Dr. Pamala Rogers of PVA with their vision for a show featuring the artists of PVA and arranged to come to the studio for a viewing. What they saw inspired them even further. As Stein recalls, the art showed “a sureness of hand and vision, a very clear, self-assured, spontaneous eruption that often looks naïve but also reflects sophistication.” Click here to read the full article

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“Pure Vision Arts has astounding drawings by Nicole Appel, densely packed compositions that cluster seemingly unrelated constellations of imagery, like Russian propaganda material alongside ornate vases, or In-n-Out Burger iconography with ice cream cones and fancy gowns…” Click here to read the full article 

1.-MIT-Tech-Review-Logo“Solving the Autism Puzzle”- VOL. 118 NO.1 January/February 2015

“Different Perspectives: Some individuals with autism and other developmental disorders are accomplished artist, creating work that illuminates their way of seeing the world. In this feature, we showcase five[…] Nicole Appel is an artist in Queens, New York. On the site of Pure Vision Arts, a gallery that supports artists with autism and other disabilities, is a selection of her detailed pieces that often feature cultural icons and expressive images of people and animals[…] Jessica Park is a painter in Williamstown, Massachusetts. A 2008 book called Exploring Nirvana: The Art of Jessica Park documents her work.” Click here to read the full article in MIT Technology Review.

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“Why The Artwork Produced at This Incredible Studio for Students With Disabilities Really Stands Out” – January 3, 3015

“Even in New York City, a place known for its galleries and art scene, the Pure Vision Arts studio and gallery stands out. Founded by the Shield Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those with autism and developmental disabilities, Pure Vision Arts is helping those with disabilities find a way to express themselves through art…” Click here to read the full article on Liftbump.com.

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“This Art Studio Nurtures Talent in People on the Autism Spectrum” -January 2, 2015

“People with autism often struggle to find accommodation in society. To better support that community, in 2002, the non-profit Shield Institute founded Pure Vision Arts. Located in Manhattan’s art district, Pure Vision Arts is the city’s first art studio dedicated to people on the autism spectrum. SFARI describes a recent visit to the space… Click here to read the full article on Smithsonian.com. 

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“Art on the Spectrum”- Winter, 2014

“Nestled between galleries in Manhattan’s art district is a studio like no other. It brims with the energy of 40 artists, most of whom have autism.

The 2,500-square-foot loft in the heart of Chelsea — just blocks from the 1960s home of Andy Warhol’s Factory — can barely contain the colorful canvases and bewitching sculptures produced by its pupils. From life-size replicas of parking meters to portraits of aging superheroes painted on pennies, the art is as diverse as autism itself…”Click here to read the full article on SFARI.org.

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“The Puzzle of the Outsider Art Fair” – May 8, 2014

“For reasons unclear, transport is a common theme for those labelled as outsiders. But the lifesize cardboard sculptures of parking meters by Chase Ferguson—who hails from Harlem and is represented here by New York’s Pure Vision—are especially lovable, each amounting to a precisely constructed specimen of a historic meter (e.g. the ‘Dunkan Duplex Parking Meter’).” Click here to read the full article in Artnet News.

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 “Outside” – Spring, 2014

“I’ve come straight to the Outsider Art Fair in Chelsea from teaching riding, and I’m still wearing tall boots, jeans, and a T-shirt. I’m alone and looking at art. I take photos of the ones I like the most: William L. Hawkins, Susan Brown, Henry Finster, and a beautiful sixty-something woman with pink hair and colorful clothes who is her own work of art. And, of course, the Henry Darger scrolls. I get up close to them to photograph the details: a strange creature that could be a cat, the bright pink of a magnolia tree, a little girl sobbing…” Click here to read the full article in The Morning News. 
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“A Pure Vision” – October/November Issue, 2013

“Autism is among the most pervasive and fastest-growing developmental disabilities of our time. As children on the spectrum age out of school and become adults, they require specialized programs that allow them to focus on their own specific interests and talents. While much of the funding for autism tackles early intervention for children, finding a cure and general research, there is a lack of specific funding for these adults. The Shield Institute, a non-profit organization providing services for people with developmental disabilities, recognized the urgent need for age appropriate and innovative programs in New York City. In 2002, under the guidance of Executive Director Dr. Susan Provenzano Pure Vision Arts was created.” Click here to read the full article (PDF) in The Autism File, October/November 2013 Issue. 

Folk Art Messenger masthead“Outsider Art in the Hamptons” – Summer 2010

A site visitor to the exhibition, The 5th Annual Outsider Art in the Hamptons: Visionary, Art Singulier and Self-Taught Artists, shifted his gaze from the rainbow-hued, pristine cityscapes of autistic artist Jessica Park of Williamstown, Mass., to the whimsical sculptures by Rondi Casey, an education instructor at Adelphi University, and asked, “What exactly is an outsider artist?”  Click here to read the full article (PDF) in the Folk Art Messenger.

Folk Art Messenger masthead“The Artists of Pure Vision” – Spring 2010

On a cold December day, my students and I visited Pure Vision Arts (PVA), a studio and exhibition space for self-taught artists with developmental disabilities located in the Chelsea district of Manhattan.  Click here to read the full article (PDF) in the Folk Art Messenger.

“Survivors” – Winter 2009/2010

Joyce Beckinstein examines the impact of New York’s art therapy and outreach organizations. Today’s self-taught artists belong to an extended family that inctudes the physically disabled, the abused, the impoverished, the unconventional and those, like Candyce Brokaw, living outwardly conventional lives that belie their post traumatic stress disorder. Brokaw, 55, spans the spectrum of this contemporary genre: a survivor of incest and rape, she is a visionary artist and founder of Survivors Art Foundation (SAF).  Her recent collaborations with Pure Vision Arts and Fountain Gallery, in New York, champion the works of talented visual artists.  Click here to read the full article (PDF) from Rawvision.

“Innovative Programming for Individuals with Autism” – Summer 2009

As children who have autism grow up and transition to adulthood, they demand programs that can attend to their independence, explore their identity in the world and build valued skills. Such innovative programs tap into the talents and gifts of individuals, while appreciating the global needs of people with autism. One such innovative program was developed by The Shield Institute in 2002. Please click here to read the full article (PDF) from Autism Spectrum News.

“Drawing outside artists in” – January 19 – 25, 2007

Jessica Park’s vividly-hued and perfectly-pitched acrylic rendering of the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, the  architectural behemoth lurking at 86th Street and West End Avenue, captures something essential about the landmark structure. Her detailed and imaginative take on the church’s bell-less tower conjures a sense of divinity at least as persuasive as any sermon delivered from a pulpit.  Click here to read the full Chelsea Arts & Lifestyles article (PDF).

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“Overcoming Troubles” – July 18, 2005

“Overcoming Troubles”, which includes an interview with Pam Rogers, Director of Pure Vision Arts and popular PVA artist and advocate for people with disabilities, Leon McCutcheon.  Click here to listen to “Overcoming Troubles” on the WNYC Radio website.

“Overcoming disability to create fine art” – June 1-7, 2005

Chelsea group exhibits impressive work in renovated gallery

Artists, family members and friends gathered recently at Pure Vision Arts on West 17th Street to marvel at the opening exhibit of its newly renovated studio. Pure Vision Arts is an artist gallery in Chelsea working in conjunction with The Shield Institute, a not for profit organization. The two groups help artists with developmental disabilities such as autism and cerebral palsy. New York State Senator Tom Duane came to the opening to honor the creativity and hard work of PVA and the artists.  Click here to read the full article (PDF) from The Villager.

“Painting the World with a Rainbow” – Winter 2004

I am looking up at the house at 53 Cole Avenue, and I don’t recognize the familiar building. Every single architectural — siding plank, shingle, cornice and pillar — has been painted in hues of pastel pink, blue, green, bright orange, yellow’ and red. The house is all the more striking because it stands below a night sky brightly tilled with constellations and other atmospheric phenomena resembling fireworks. I have just moved to Williamstown, Mass., and I know for a fact that this house really exists on Cole Avenue. This particular vision of the house, however, exists only as Jessica Park’s painting, The House on 53 Cole Avenue, March 5, 2002. The painting is part of the exhibition, Exploring Nirvana: The Art of Jessica Park, at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ Porter Street Gallery in North Adams, Mass., May 12 to June 30, 2004. This retrospective of Jessy’s work focuses on the artist’s rendition of the world and was the fruit of a semester of study and planning by students in the Museum Studies class of Dr. Anthony Gengarelly, chairman of the Performing and Fine Arts department at M.C.L.A.   Click here to read the full article (PDF) in the Folk Art Messenger.

“Showcasing ‘Neurodiversity'” – October 2004

Artists with Autism… and other disabilities are attracting mainstream attention.

On any given morning, some 20 artists are at work at Pure Vision Arts, a combination artist’s studio and gallery space in New York’s Chelsea District. Their art and that displayed on the walls reflect a cross section of contemporary style, from the architecturally precise images of Jessica Park to the Pop-like canvases of Susan Brown, which feature rows and rows of ice cream sodas.

What the artists here share is that they have developmental disabilities… Pure Vision, a nonprofit offshoot of The Shield Institute, which provides services to children and adults who are developmentally challenged, is the first New York gallery dealing exclusively with such artists… Pure Vision isn’t about charity. With works ranging from $200 to $7,000, the gallery’s 30 contracted artists receive 50 percent of the profits and are garnering mainstream attention…

Many of the artists have overcome hardships and long hospital stays. (William) Britt, now 69, taught himself to paint at the Willowbrook State Hospital… where he was institutionalized for more than 30 years. Victor Cristescu lived in Romania without special assistance until his sister brought him to the United States, when he was in his 30s. Now in his 40s, the nonverbal Critescu, who is developmentally disabled, draws only images of churches on paper, which is his primary form of communicationand expression.  Click here to read the full article (PDF) from Art News.

“Healing ‘Vision'” – May 2003

If you attended New York’s recent Outsider Art Fair, you may have seen Walter Mika’s primitive figure paintings (“Cop.” below, pastel on paper) or Mariana Graci’s bold mixed-media creations. Both artists are among the growing stable of talent represented by the newly established Pure Vision Arts in Manhattan’s Chelsea gallery district that nurtures, promotes and sells the works of artists challenged by disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy and mental retardation. It was founded by Pamala Rogers, director of expressive arts programs of New York-based Shield Institute, a nonprofit that works with the disabled and their families, and the institute’s executive director, Susan Provenzano. Outsider art dealer Margaret Bodel and life-planing consultant Beth Mount are also active in the project.  Click here to read the full “Healing ‘Vision” article (PDF) from Art & Antiques.

“Pure Vision is about serious art-making.”