TU professor’s art exhibited in Serbia | Community Spirit
THOMAS COUNTY, GA - News release from Thomas University
Most days you’ll find Rich Curtis in the classrooms and art studio at Thomas University in Thomasville, Ga., sharing his joy of art with his students.
This summer one of his own art projects was on display for thousands to see at MAS Gallery in Odzaci, Serbia.
“Sight Unseen” began in 2007, when Rich Curtis worked with blind and vision-impaired clients at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind to create drawings in response to selections of music.
As they listened, the participants created works of art on paper.
Curtis then took 50 of those works of art and mounted them on foam board. He used fabric paint to give them texture so that the blind and visually impaired could experience them.
“I was interested in how they internalized the sounds and whether there’s a heightened sensory response to music,” Curtis said.
Originally debuting as part of the “Registering the Invisible” exhibit at Space 301 in Mobile, Ala., 20 of the original 50 pieces of “Sight Unseen” were entered as a group and went on to win the grand prize at the 8th Helen Keller Art Competition in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2009.
The project was also exhibited at Tennessee Valley Museum of Art in 2009 and Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C., in 2010.
About two years ago, MAS Gallery contacted Curtis about exhibiting the project there, but the exhibit was put on hold because of budget restraints at the gallery.
The exhibit of all 50 pieces finally happened this summer after the budget restraints were lifted.
“It’s an ongoing project, and I don’t think it’s over,” Curtis said.
He is interested in working with schools for the blind in Georgia and North Florida. Curtis is also interested in expanding the presentation of the work.
He’d like to take some of the drawings from “Sight Unseen” and recreate them on a larger scale as a wall-sized, texture-based installation.
This method would provide viewers, both sighted and visually impaired, a way to experience the art work more directly with their bodies.
In addition to “Sight Unseen,” Curtis has also curated the exhibit "Jack Adams: Boston’s Native Son" at Accidental Gallery in Boston, Ga.
He’s now writing a biography about Adams and working on curating a larger show at University of Georgia to include Jack Adams and his contemporaries.
Curtis recently completed a chapbook entitled “Songs for The Big Oak," which includes original images, poetry and prose about Thomasville’s Big Oak.
A native of Huntsville, Ala., Curtis holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of North Alabama and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
He’s been a member of the TU faculty since January 2011.