The Ritz Theatre and Museum’s current feature exhibition, Through Our Eyes: Sensory Perception 2016, not only focuses on sight, but all sensory perception, in a collection of works from local African-American artists. As people walk in, they are taken through pieces of art that embody sensory perception in some form.
Curator Lydia Stuart discussed the exhibition with me. “The inspiration behind this year’s exhibition was a result of a couple of things. One inspiration came from a couple of volunteers that were visually impaired taking visitors through the gallery and talking about the artwork. It showed me that we rely too much on sight, and there are many other ways to experience art through our other senses.”
The other inspiration was working with Melody Taylor last year, one of the 19 local contributing artists to this year’s exhibition. Melody Taylor’s piece in the exhibition is called Broken Melody, and her story behind the piece is one full of impact. Melody started out a singer who, in her words, “Could sing north, south, east and west,” meaning this lady had a set of pipes on her. But life has thrown Melody Taylor a few rough curve balls in the form of tumors and c-spine surgery that has taken away a good part of her hearing and left her with distorted vision.
When she was in the hospital, Melody found a new therapeutic way to deal with the traumatic events that took so much from her. “One day they brought me paint, brushes, and a canvas, and I just started painting. I tell people that life changes. I thought I would be a singer, but I went from able to disabled. But you owe it to yourself to get up every day and do something. I am grateful to my family because they have really helped me through everything. I have a daughter who is an actress, and she makes sure her casting agent gives her time off to come and help me when I need it.”
Melody shows how art can be inspirational and therapeutic. Through Our Eyes: Sensory Perception 2016 is running through August 14, 2016 at the Ritz Theatre and Museum located on 829 N Davis St. For more information, call 632-5555. Don’t miss a one of a kind exhibition.