Artist Registry

VSA Florida showcases artists with disabilities through our Artist Registry. All art forms are represented including visual art, performing art, and literary work. Artist Registry members receive:

  •      Announcements for Calls for Art
  •      Invitations to exhibit or perform for VSA Florida events
  •      Opportunities to be a paid Collaborative Artist in our artist in residence programs
  •      Opportunities for informational webinars
  •      Periodic newsletters

The registry is a FREE service. Click here for an application.
For more information, please contact Sandra Sroka, Adult Program Coordinator, at srokas.vsafl@gmail.com or 813.974.0721.

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Dorothy Joan Riley
Visual Artist

Dorothy Joan Riley is a member of the Coast Guard Fine Art Program. She is a retired Clinical Social Worker who spent many years in the child abuse arena, a field that she understands both from her professional training and from personal experience. She is a self-taught artist who has won many juried competitions. Her artwork is displayed in several public collections throughout the country. Dorothy is also a writer and published the novel, “The Purging of Monica Campbell”. In addition to her art and writing, Dorothy edits several newsletters and a news magazine for the Coast Guard Auxiliary, an organization in which she currently serves as a volunteer.

Eduardo A. LaChall Bencomo
Visual Artist
Phone: 727-698-1755

Eduardo was born in Cuba and is the grand nephew of famous Cuban artist, Jose A. Bencomo Mena.  He lived in Connecticut until September of 2010 when he moved to St. Petersburg, FL.  Eduardo works in glass, granite, oils on canvas, and art on paper.  He sold his first piece of art in 1975.
Please click here to read an article about Ed in the Pinellas Reader.

Photo of Elizabeth Sanchez
Elizabeth Sanchez
Performing Artist
Phone: 305-785-6652

Elizabeth Sanchez was born into a Christian family on March 11th, 1993, in Placetas, Cuba. As a young child, she began singing in the choir at her church, Los Pinos Nuevos in Placetas. She moved to the Dominican Republic at the age of 4, where she continued performing at church, very often. Elizabeth vocal qualities were well received in each church's presentation. At 7 years old, Elizabeth realized that music was her passion and began to pursue, under the guidance of her parents, the study of vocal music. By the age of 11, Elizabeth and her family moved to the United States where she continued her church performances at Baptist Church Estrella de Belen in Hialeah, Florida. In high school, she took choir classes and was accepted into a vocal music magnet program at Michael Krop High School in Aventura, Florida. At 18, Elizabeth started her university studies at Barry University - vocal music major. During her studies at Barry, she actively participates in choir and opera performances. Elizabeth graduated from Barry University in 2016 - BA in vocal music. As a soloist, Elizabeth is working on her first album, a gospel music album. She is the writer of her songs. She dreams of touching people's hearts and minds through her voice and her lyrics.

Photo of Elizabeth Sanchez
Elizabeth Sanchez
Performing Artist
Phone: 305-785-6652
Website:

Elizabeth was born in Cuba in 1993. It was a very difficult time. During the birth of Elizabeth, there was a power outage in the hospital for more than 15 minutes and electricity generators did not respond. As a result, Elizabeth was in a coma the first thirty days of her life.


Elizabeth's life has been an example of perseverance and hope. As a young child, she began singing in the choir at her church, Los Pinos Nuevos in Placetas, Cuba. She moved to the Dominican Republic at the age of 4, where she continued performing at church, very often. Elizabeth vocal qualities were well received in each church's presentation. At 7 years old, Elizabeth realized that music was her passion and began to pursue, under the guidance of her parents, the study of vocal music. By the age of 11, Elizabeth and her family moved to the United States where she continued her church performances at Baptist Church Estrella de Belen in Hialeah, Florida. In high school, she took choir classes and was accepted into a vocal music magnet program at Michael Krop High School in Aventura, Florida. At 18, Elizabeth started her university studies at Barry University - vocal music major. During her studies at Barry, she actively participates in many choir performances. As a soloist, Elizabeth is working on her first album, a gospel music album. She is the writer of her songs. She dreams of touching people's hearts and minds through her voice and her lyrics.


You can watch Elizabeth's Senior Vocal Recital by clicking on the following link.  https://youtu.be/FtnI1wMJlhU

Photo of Emily Michael
Literary piece by Emily Michael
Emily Michael
Visual Artist

Emily K. Michael is a blind poet, musician, and writing instructor from Jacksonville, FL. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Wordgathering; The Hopper; Artemis Journal; The Deaf Poets Society, Compose Journal; The Fem, Rogue Agent; Disability Rhetoric; Breath & Shadow; Bridge Eight; Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics; I Am Subject Stories: Women Awakening, BREVITY'S Nonfiction Blog, and Mosaics (Vol. 2). Her manuscript Natural Compliance won Honorable Mention in The Hopper's Prize for Young Poets. Emily's work centers on the themes of ecology, disability, feminism, and music. She challenges the divisions between human and nonhuman experiences—especially how a more-than-human world contributes to music and language. She develops grammar workshops for multilingual learners and participates in local writing festivals.

Eric Nelson
Visual Artist
Website:

Eric Nelson is a highly motivated ball of wonder who amazes us with his artistic endeavors everyday. When Eric is making art he talks about what room he wants to clean-up and when he's cleaning he talks about the subject of his next piece of work. Obsessed with iconic vehicles, classic buildings and current events, Eric builds incredible cardboard sculptures and intriguing paintings of his current obsessions. His work is simple and direct and comes across as a sort of stylized folk-like pop art. He always operates on all cylinders because his next subject is waiting right there for him to finish.

Gianna Gonzalez
Visual Artist
Website:

23 year old Ms. Gianna Gonzalez was born in Miami and currently lives in Tavares, FL.  She speaks three languages fluently including Portuguese, Spanish and English.  Gianna writes spiritual and gospel inspired poetry for fun.

Photo of artist Heather M. Forster
Artwork by Heather M. Forster
Heather M. Forster
Visual Artist
Phone: 772.634.3879
Website:

My name is Heather M. Forster, sculptor.  The disability began when I was fifteen, my first diagnosis was Paranoid Schizophrenia; now today it is considered Bi-polar . For many years, roughly fifty years; I had a very, very difficult time with myself.  Thankfully; I am free of most of the difficulties of the disorder.  I continue to take my medications and see my doctor.  I am enjoying creating beautiful sculptures.  I am self-taught.  The process I use is paper mache'.  I have many future ideas for sculptures and am now appearing in two galleries. I know I will have a fruitful career as a sculptor.  This is my life's purpose; to be a sculptor.  I am and plan on continuing to champion social advancements for all peoples and the World.  I am truly happy today. I appreciate being able to tell you a little bit about me and  maybe contribute some positive encouragement for all people that are having a disability issue.   

Jack "Mr. B." Beverland
Visual Artist
Phone: 352-668-3047

 Mr. B is a self-taught southern folk artist who has found peace of mind in his unique and special kind of one of a kind art.  Born into a poor family in 1939, his mother moved him and his older brother to Florida after his father died.  Their existence was meager but the experience gave him a strong drive for success.  Later in life Mr. B learned there was no such thing as "corporate loyalty" after being forced into retirement, leaving Mr. B. lost and angry.  Mr. B. conquered the angry beast within through southern folk art.  Mr. B.  portrays the simple life - the life that most of us want to live - the days of our childhood - the dreams we once had and most importantly, the way we would all like it to be.
 

Jason Rosenstock with a piece of his artwork
Jason Rosenstock
Visual Artist

My name is Jason Rosenstock. I live in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. I am a physically disabled visual artist. I started to paint while attending middle school in Virginia Beach, Va. Painting allowed me to channel my positive energy and provided me an outlet to express myself in ways that I was unable to in other aspects of my life. My teachers in high school and college were inspirations for me. They noticed my talent for painting and encouraged me to continue, and with their guidance I learned many styles and techniques. Today I continue to study art at The Fat Village Center For The Arts in Fort Lauderdale. I have learned many new techniques working with the teachers there and my work has immensely improved. Painting helps me to relax and allows me to focus my energy in a fulfilling way. When I begin a new painting it is like having a goal to work towards. Many times the end result of a painting is a surprise to me. After spending so much time and energy on a project it is often hard to envision what the end result will be. I enjoy watching the progression of a painting from start to finish, seeing the layers build up and the objects take shape is truly satisfying. I often feel like a long journey is ending when I get close to finishing a painting, and many times I'm not ready to move on to something else right away.

Jennifer Hays
Visual Artist
Website:

My name is Jenny, and I've recently graduated with an Art degree from FGCU.  Creating visual art is a passion of mine, and I love to share it by teaching others various techniques and skills.  My favorite media include Printing, Photography, and Painting.

Jessica Gross
Visual Artist

My name is Jessica and I am an Art Therapy Major at The University of Tampa. I will be receiving my degree in December of 2016. My brain injury occurred in November of 2011 when I was a 17 year old senior in high school. I struggle sometimes but I do not let my disabilities hold me back.Some day I hope to be an art therapist and work with children who have disabilities.

Jessica Tomlinson
Performing Artist
Phone: 727-821-2610

Jessica Tomlinson plays the piano for private parties, receptions and restaurants.  She also gives music classes for young children in the Pinellas County area.  She is also an academic tutor with a bachelor's degree in education from Saint Petersburg College. 

Jordan Avery Foster
Visual Artist
Phone: 904-333-4098
Website:

Jordan Avery Foster has won numerous awards for her work and has exhibited nationally. She resides in Jacksonville Florida where she paints and teaches.

Joshua Martinez
Visual Artist
Phone: 863.228.8943
Website:

Joshua is 21 years of age. He was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. Joshua has trouble expressing himself but he has never been shy at trying. He is extremely independent and prefers doing things on his own. Autism is a part of Joshua but it has never defined him. His art helps him express his emotions and feelings enhancing the variety of colors in each painting. Joshua selects every part of each of his art work and each piece is extremely unique and can never be recreated. Just like Joshua's autism, his art is a part of him.

Joshua Silver Banks
Visual Artist
Website:

Native Floridian, Josh Silver Banks has been expressing himself via vibrant abstract paintings since age 16 (summer 2005). Diagnosed with autism around age 2, a year after moving to Jupiter, he doesn’t speak but discovered this artform when his mom packed some Crayola® markers to channel his energy during evacuation from a hurricane.  Before moving to a group home in Martin County in 2010, he’d draw in five- to ten-minute spurts at his parents’ home. In 2007, Josh’s mom secured a Palm Beach County artist in residence grant for Texas art professor Mari Omori, who was so impressed by Josh’s work that she suggested a goal of producing 20 works so he could exhibit them. The goal was reached in 2011, when his mom arranged giclee prints of earliest and more recent pieces, framing a total of 14. He’s completed about ten smaller works in his current home, and has been experimenting with oil crayons and finger paint.  Joshua’s work was included in four juried group exhibitions and an art festival in 2012, in Jupiter, Tequesta, West Palm Beach, Lakeland and Houston, Texas. In February 2013, he became one of several featured artists on the Dick Blick art supply company’s website, source of his watercolor paper.  Media coverage includes: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/health/the-colorful-mind-of-josh-banks-who-suffers-2285448. html?page=2  and  http://www.wpbf.com/Autistic-man-speaks-through-art/-/8789538/9521676/-/taio9wz/-/index.html [Channel 25 in West Palm Beach March 18, 2012] His Facebook page is Joshua Silver Banks Autism and Artistry, and his website is joshuasilverbanks.com

Joy LeeAnn
Visual Artist
Phone: 813.494.7880

Joy LeeAnn is a native Tampanian who shows her passion for creativity through photography, writing and poetry. She views her traumatic brain injury as an event that made her who she is today.

Just before March 9, 2012 began, Joy was biking in downtown Savannah dressed in all black, riding a black bike and without a helmet. She failed to stop at a stop sign, colliding with a vehicle. She landed on the hood, her head denting where the window and roof meet and ended up on the grassy knoll in front of a building, sustaining yet another crack on the head. During that thrill ride, she received s hairline fracture to her right leg.

She spent a month traveling between; ICU, step down unit and the fifth floor at Memorial hospital in Savannah, GA. She then entered the rehabilitation program at Memorial, for two months. During rehab, she received incredible care from the strong, caring staff she is still in contact with today. After the best pizza party of her life, she went home to enjoy (sarcasm alert) seven blissful months of re-learning how to take care of herself, eat, walk, talk and write.

If she had not had the supportive family she does; Joy would not have made such a stellar recovery. She fought, whined and complained until she returned to Savannah to finish out her senior year at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Joy graduated November 2013 with a bachelor of fine arts in photography and creative writing. She has an intensified love of and respect for life; she has dedicated her life to her creative passions. That and making sure everyone wears a bicycle helmet!

Juliana (Jewels) Pace
Visual Artist
Phone: 941-301-8080

I'm a happily married Christian artist & author!  Most of my artwork is inspired by our Creator's Complexity in that He created each one of us so unfathomable that one has to look many times over to see every aspect of each person! I've crafted as long as I can remember. My Grandpa bought my first piece when I was 10, telling me that good art should be paid for! But, I just presented myself to the world as an artist in 2004!

Karen E. Michaels
Visual Artist

Karen attended school for 20 some years.She earned an undergraduate degree in Geoenvironemntal Science. She also earned post graduate degrees and work in Counseling Psychology,Crisis Intervention, Addictions and a residency in Systemic Therapy. The ability to use her education was taken away, in the split second it takes two cars to collide. The result was a traumatic brain injury.
This is now her second life. She lives with her spouse, Marilyn Blumberg Cane, and is grateful to be able to express herself visually.
Karen has won awards and photographic competitions including National Wildlife, Ritz and Canon. She is a member of VSA, which is an organization dedicated to working with and helping artists with disabilities.
She has a revolving gallery at the Shepard Broad Law Center of Nova Southeastern University. Since 2010, Karen has donated her time and graphic talent to the Inter American Center for Human Rights and Lambda United at the law center.
In 2011, three pieces of Karen's work began a 4 year traveling exhibit with the Great Explorations Children's Museum in St Petersburg, Florida.
Also in 2011, Karen was a nominee for the 6th annual Black and White Spider awards.
Looking through a lens and sound canceling headphones make her world manageable. Enjoy her work.

Kathleen Giddens
Visual Artist

Kathleen Giddens was born in St. Petersburg, Florida.  She got a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Florida and afterwards a Masters of Art Education to enable her to teach art. She worked as a teacher's aide for 3 years, did graphic art for 2 years, then taught part-time in community college for 5 years. She has had numerous volunteer jobs including docent at a natural science museum,teaching art in nursing homes and working with adults with mental disabilities. Now legally deaf, unable to speak, and a nerve loss on the left side she cannot teach. She has time now to concentrate fully on her painting and drawing. Kathleen presently lives in Lake City, Florida with her husband and 2 dogs.