Introduction

Art reaches out and connects people in a special way. When we see a creative piece that moves us, we respond to it in different ways. For some, we want to keep it close to us so that we can experience it again and again.

While Colleen—or ‘Collie’—was living in Manhattan, she learned a tremendous amount about the art world, often from attending art galleries and visiting museums, some of which gave tours in American Sign Language.  From that familiarity, she developed a deep appreciation for the arts.  She and her wife Kat also enjoyed attending art/craft gatherings and made their own artworks. Collie spent many hours of doing needlepoint and cross-stitch work, which she found to be very relaxing and welcome breaks from the stresses of her daily life.

When Kat and Collie moved to Rochester after retirement, they found themselves with plenty of wall space. Naturally, they started collecting artwork, primarily from artists who are Deaf.  Favoring the creative right side of her brain, Collie developed a strong connection to the work done by Deaf artists who shared similar perspectives and expressions based on their experiences as Deaf individuals.  She especially appreciated the affirmative messages she found in work done by Deaf artists that fostered and advocated the idea of full and unrestricted access to communication. This enthusiasm reflected her experience growing up in an all-deaf environment both at home and at school. 

Colleen High School Photograph

Colleen in high school 

Colleen Rochester Photograph

Colleen in Rochester, NY