San Diego Gallery Hosts Deaf Art Exhibition for NDA Month (September 2017)

If you’re going to be in Southern California at any point during the month of September, you might want to make a pit stop in San Diego. Next month, a gallery called The Studio Door — located in the North Park neighborhood — will be hosting an exhibition featuring deaf and hard of hearing artists from September 1-24, 2017. The exhibit will showcase work from 18 DHOH artists from around the country in honor of National Deaf Awareness Month.

Jon Savage. 2017. Retrieved from

“This is an important moment for San Diego’s community to celebrate Deaf art,” says Jon Savage, the artist who planned the exhibition alongside gallery owner Patric Stillman. “My fellow artists offer a unique point of view and this exhibition celebrates the rich artistic traditions of Deaf contemporary artists.”

Ellen Mansfield. 2017. De’Via Artist.
Retrieved from

The exhibit is a sign of the growing De’VIA art movement. Also known as Deaf View/Image Art, this movement aims to express and examine the Deaf experience. The term was coined in 1989 and the movement has evolved a rich set of themes, motifs, metaphors, and more since its inception. Ellen Mansfield, a De’VIA artist whose work will be featured at the exhibition, has created a short guide to the movement’s elements, motifs, and symbols on her webpage.

The gallery owner Stillman is thrilled to be hosting the exhibit: “This art movement is a growing trend these days among artists seeking to express the experience of being deaf. Its truly a form of Deaf Pride in that it deals with themes of empowerment, American Sign Language (ASL) and perceptions based upon the Deaf experience.”

It’s important to note that not all De’VIA art is made by DHOH artists. Likewise, not all work by deaf and hard of hearing artists is a part of the De’VIA movement. Artists from both camps will be featured at the exhibit.

There will be an emphasis on enhancing the experience of Deaf patrons. QR codes displayed alongside the art will link to YouTube videos of the artists explaining their work in ASL, with either closed-captions or voice-over narration.

The following are some of the artists that will be featured:

  • Rea Rossi, a sculptor and jeweler whose work incorporates 3D printing to create sound-wave inspired jewelry.
  • Melissa Malzkuhn, a creative artist and one of the producers of The ASL App.
  • Amy Cohen Efron, an alumni of Gallaudet University and a self-proclaimed ‘artivist’.

Visit the gallery’s event page for a listing of all the artists featured.

Not only is this event a fantastic way of raising awareness about deaf culture and the deaf experience — it will be completely free for all San Diegans.

If you’re interested in learning more about deaf artists, the Deaf Artist Series by James W. Van Manen, Ph.D. features the art and biographies of two De’VIA artists: Ann Silver and Nancy Rourke. It’s worth noting that Nancy Rourke will one of the artists whose work will be featured at the upcoming exhibition!