Al Gorman is the director of Studio¬Works, the impressive art program of Zoom Group for adults with developmental disabilities. Al and StudioWorks artists have been partners and collaborators in Weber Gallery projects from the beginning. Scott Smith, senior art director with advertising agency Power Creative, has long served on the Council board and been an incredibly generous source of creative genius. Donny Weber is an architect and artist whose design-build firm Weber Group is largely responsible for the existence of Weber Gallery and the Duval Center that houses the Council. And Madonna Wilson is a board trustee and architect whose ingenious touches permeate the gallery. The art of all four of these exceptional individuals has contributed to the distinctive presence the Weber Gallery now enjoys in this com¬munity. They, together with the board, leader Bob Boyle and Council executives, had the vision to lend their faith and support to make the controversial Weber Gallery project successful. The Art of Vision award is theirs.
According the the CNPE, “The Pyramid Awards for Excellence are designed to recognize the value of our region’s nonprofit sector.” Awards are given in six categories. Former recipients of Pyramid Awards include Fund for the Arts, Brooklawn, Leadership Louisville, Volunteers of America, Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Louisville, and Junior Achievement.
The Art of Vision award “honors a non-profit organization that has developed a collective vision that inspired action, con¬nected that vision to its mission and/or to community priorities, and demonstrated the community benefits of that mission.” The rationale for Weber Gallery qualification read, in part:
The mission and vision of Weber Gallery is perfectly in keeping with that of The Council: to provide an outstanding and inclusive art venue for talented local, regional, and national artists, with a vision toward the inclusion, empowerment, and value of artists with DD in the community of artistic excellence. Note how the Weber Gallery vision correlates and comple-ments that larger vision of The Council in a specific, unique, way — a way that actually includes vision in every sense of the word. Through Weber Gallery, the vision of the artist, the vision of the art patron, the vision of the gallery, and the vision of The Council, coincide.
Weber Gallery’s vision of inclusion, empowerment, and value of ARTISTS with DD in the community of artistic excellence is a tool, operating through the power of beauty, toward fulfillment of The Council’s grand vision of inclusion, empowerment, and value for ALL people with developmental disabilities. Our opening receptions include the very poor, the very wealthy, the highly educated, the under-educated, disability advocates, commu¬nity business leaders, unknown artists with disabilities, and well-known professional artist gallery-owners and consortium members. Our openings are diverse, stimulating, and joyous.
This is the way cultural attitudes change, through one small event at a time, one place at a time, one art show at a time.
In bringing about the change that the Council mission mandates, Weber Gallery empowers artists with disabilities and simultaneously benefits the community of established artists and the metro community at large. To paraphrase Gandhi, Weber Gallery is striving to be the change The Council wants to see in the world. At the opening reception of our last exhibition Sisters and Brothers, 25 notable profes¬sional artists exhibited side by side with 25 artists who have a developmental disability. All were on equal footing, well received by an audience that neither saw nor cared about labels of ability or disability — but only saw a vision of beauty and color everywhere. That audience included people from our community who do not usually cross paths: officials from the Kentucky School of Art, Old Louisville art aficionados, disability advocates, Chamber of Commerce officials — who mingled and chatted with artists with disabilities and artists who have owned their own galleries for years and are leaders in the Louisville art community.
In this atmosphere, boundaries become meaningless. Distinctions fade away, and what is left is only the beauty of the art and the beauty of the artists. For one moment, in one place, the vision is fulfilled.
It’s a start.