By Desiree Williams
Alys Caviness-Gober, Noblesville, only got involved with art a few years ago, but she has dealt with disabilities her entire life. As the recipient of a recent grant award, she will be combining both by using art to illustrate living with disabilities. This summer, Caviness-Gober received the Individual Artist Program award from the Indiana Arts Commission, which includes a $2,000 award with a grant period that began July 1 and runs until June 30, 2017.
“I just wanted to bring awareness to hidden disabilities,” she said. “It’s very hard. Normally, it’s out of your control.”
She used the term ‘hidden disabilities’ to describe something physical or mental that cannot be seen from the outside, but rather it’s something that manifests through behavior, cognitive abilities and social interaction.
Caviness-Gober was diagnosed with an incurable lung disease at a young age, and has experienced various heart problems and retinal bleeds over the years. Living with these hidden disabilities propelled her project’s vision.
“In our culture, there’s still that idea that if there’s something physically wrong with you, you’re less than and I really don’t like that,” she said. “To turn a negative into a positive image, that’s kind of what I want to do.”
As a grant recipient, she will be creating 10 to 12 large-scale, abstract paintings that will use texture, shapes and colors to evoke the emotions represented by hidden disabilities. Along with the paintings, Caviness-Gober will hold monthly open discussions about the artwork and disabilities in general.
“It was very encouraging because not only was it the first grant I ever applied for, but it legitimizes you as an artist. As a disabled artist, getting positive feedback like that is rare,” she said.
She said she hopes to have an exhibit in Noblesville at the end of the grant period, with all items for sale. She also plans to include a short explanation on the back of each piece about the grant award and what the painting represents.
For more, visit facebook.com/Alys2017IAPgrant.