By Molly Uline-Olmstead, Executive Director of Art Possible Ohio
Art Possible Ohio, formally VSA Ohio, is gearing up for the 24th-annual Accessible Expressions Ohio exhibition. This adjudicated, statewide exhibition and tour of visual art for artists with disabilities of all ages helps raise awareness about art and disability by presenting the art in inclusive settings. This year will be especially exciting as Art Possible Ohio debuts celebrates their new name at the opening reception, Day of Arts for All at the Springfield Museum of Art on March 28.
One of our featured 2020 artists is Columbus artist Jacs Fishburne. They received their BFA from Denison University and MFA from Columbus College of Art & Design. Originally from the Catskill Mountains in New York, they currently reside in Columbus and teach first year students at CCAD. Jacs talked to me about their work in general and also about the piece they submitted for this year’s exhibition.
Molly: When I saw this image with all the other images we were reviewing it immediately jumped out at me. The composition looks like a classical painting but it is such a modern subject — contemporary dance.
Jacs: Every image from that series became my favorite but this particular image sent me straight back to my father’s art studio where he taught me art history and how to make. My dad taught me to know a lot about a little and a little about a lot, that way I could walk into a room and either teach something or learn something.
Molly: So that multi-disciplinary approach makes a lot of sense in the way you are combining photography and dance.
Jacs: Fall came from a collaborative experience with SeaBus Dance Company for their show Milk and Bones. I’ve trained across a wide range of media like writing, photography, fiber installations, bookbinding, weaving (specifically photo weaving) and others. I just like to know things, I guess, and I like to feel my way through ideas to see what comes out the other side.
Molly: Accessible Expressions Ohio is unique in that it showcases artists with disabilities. How has disability informed your work?
Jacs: My work seeks to answer “what do we create in the space pain occupies?” I use my own physical and mental disabilities as jumping off points, and am interested in the ways in which the body creates narratives of healing. So I use artmaking to understand the space in which pain resides.
Molly: Why did you decide to submit work this year?
Jacs: I submitted to Accessible Expressions this year after seeing how incredible the entire show and program was last year. I was honored to have been a part of last year’s show and was having a really rough time with my fibromyalgia and pain from bulging discs and mild degenerative disc disorder in my neck. Since undergoing a massive fibromyalgia flare up from August 2018 to February 2019, I had to come to terms with the limits of my body and the way in which it would in turn affect my PTSD and other anxiety disorders. Meeting people at Day of Arts for All and talking with others afterwards helped me to feel more at ease in the deepening changes in my body and to embrace them as a super power. I felt like I still had more to learn from others and submitted as a way of grounding myself in the overall experience.