While outsider art has enjoyed increasing cache among art institutions, critics and commercial galleries in recent years, outsider artists themselves continue to face daily challenges in making their work. Most artists under capitalism face such difficulties; yet in particular for artists with disabilities, the failure of the United States to provide and adequate social safety net and affordable healthcare services (not to mention meaningful funding for the arts) makes creating work financially and logistically difficult, if not impossible.

Located in the heart of Chelsea, Pure Vision Arts addresses the need for artists with autism and developmental challenges to have a supportive place to work. It’s the only professional artist studio in New York City of its kind and along with Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, one of only a handful of institutions in the country. In addition to studio space, PVA provides artists with materials, gallery representation, access to to a community of other artists, and assistance for artists when needed. Though the space serves artists regardless of commercial success, because of limited space and resources, the waitlist for access to the institution is years long and even then, admittance requires that the artists already have a fairly established practice and significant body of work.

“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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“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 

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


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. Click here to read the full article