When I was a kid I used to walk around the house with a pencil in my hand, ready to draw on any blank surface. My mother would tell me to put it down. It was such a habit with me that I often didn’t realize I was holding it. I would put the pencil down but a few minutes later she would remind me again. I would look in my hand and sure enough, the pencil I had relinquished would have been replaced with another one.
I loved to draw, write and read from an early age. In grammar, middle and high school my favorite classes were art, drama and creative writing.
I am an artist with a visual disability. Despite that, or maybe because of it, I was never one to follow art rules or guideline of any type; choosing instead to create the art the way my imagination dictated. Artists with disabilities are often marginalized and ghettoized. I found a group just for such artists called VSA arts and got a job with them. I went on to work for and with various VSA arts organizations including New Mexico, New Jersey, Oregon and Colorado, where I directed the gallery. I helped start two VSA projects: VISIBILITY, a coalition of artists with disabilities and The Unlimited Potential (UP) Theater Company which still operates today.
I also have albinism. While living in the Washington DC area I served on the board of directors of an organization for people with albinism. I ran the DC chapter, served as national chapter president, and ran the minority affairs segment.
I presently hold a BFA from the School of Visual Arts, a Master’s degree in Community Arts Management from the University of Illinois, and a certificate in multimedia design. I am also a former Toastmaster.
I work in several mediums, including, and often mix them.
Virginia L Small
Virginia L. Small