ON SUNDAY, FEB. 6, at Sabine Street Studios, the ReelAbilities Houston Film & Arts Festival kicks off with ReelArt, a delightful exhibition of artists from Celebration Company, an entrepreneurial employment program for adults with disabilities.
At Celebration Company, participants explore art making in several mediums and earn a commission on sales of their art, all of which is reasonably priced and available to view on the Celebration Company website.
This year’s ReelArt exhibit features works by Bulgarian-born Sevy Eicher, an 18-year-old with Down syndrome, who is also an internationally collected artist. Before being adopted by Houston couple Joey and Lisa Eicher, Sevy, who is non-verbal, had never gone to school, never been to a doctor, and lived only in institutions and temporary homes. While the trauma of those experiences initially prevented Sevy from fully trusting her new family, once she began making art — at first working beside Lisa, who is a writer, and then on her own with paint, brushes and canvases — Sevy became more open, trusting and joyful.
Despite, or maybe because of her success in selling her work, Sevy is a relentless experimenter, infusing her work with an ever widening range of emotional content by combining bright, electric colors and pastel hues with recognizable shapes and figures, and occasionally letters of the alphabet (“AAAA”). Meanwhile, the often humorous titles of her paintings (“Cat Bird Lord Of The Fly,” “Pink Punk Scribble”) come courtesy of little brother Radko, who according to Sevy’s Instagram, “always sees very specific things in her work.”
Like Sevy, other Celebration Company artists have benefited from the transformative power of art, and describe feeling empowered, calm and focused while painting, taking photographs, or working with fused glass. Thanks to ReelArt and the organizers of the ReelAbilities Houston Film and Arts Festival, we get to see and enjoy the resulting work and discover how much talent and skill exists among persons with disabilities.
The ReelArt opening reception takes place Feb. 6, 2022. Free valet parking will be available that day for accessibility. The exhibit runs through March 25, 2022.
'Doors Everywhere' by Harry Samelson
'Green Green' by Jacob Sulton
Elyse Brandt's 'Resting Turtles'