Artists

  • Alex Ben Scoggins

    Alex Ben Scoggins is influenced by post-modernist graphic design, such as artist David Carson and the publication Monster Child Magazine. His medium is collage and he lets spontaneity form the final product. Alex was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, which is still a struggle some days. Despite adversity, he continues to nurture his love for Art. Alex is currently a student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. 
  • Alfred Clyde Dodson III

    I am fortunate to be able to share my photography with, and through, the Hart Gallery. They are paramount to me as a visible artist, and I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful they are. With my photography I get to capture the “constant” in an ever-changing world. I express what I can through the images I capture. They are illusive, ever changing, immortal, yet crumbling. The world is changing, if ever so slightly, and photographs offer only a glimpse of the actual. This is a shifting that I believe we are all cognizant of, but are often unable to express. As an artist, expression is such an extremely critical and viable aspect of survival. Because of this, it’s also important for me to note that I am transsexual. I draw and write as well as taking photographs, and I am working to fuse my writing with my photography. The titles of my series are “Abandonment: Crossing the Line; Gender Dysphoria and the American Work Ethic.” 

  • Ally Manno

    Ally Manno is a local artist in Chattanooga who lives on the outskirts of Red Bank. Born and raised in Fairfax, Virginia, she moved down to Tennessee to pursue a music degree at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Upon graduation, Ally became an official resident of Tennessee. Ally is an autistic woman who suffers from a variety of mental health issues including, but not limited to, clinical depression and OCD, and she has applied to receive disability income. Due to the finely detailed patterns and vibrant colors that are found in most of her artworks, she uses art as a way to exert control and maintain order in her life when routines are overthrown. Though she is a hobbyist at heart, Ally hopes that she can make a decent side income from selling her art.

  • Amy Belk

     Amy Belk attributes her artistic influence to her grandmother, who gave her a scrap box that she, Amy, and Amy’s mother kept full of “tidbits” and treasures with which to create. Her grandmother would supply her with “real” art materials and encouraged her free expression on these special summer visits during her childhood. After struggling for many years with physical and psychological issues, Amy renewed her former passion for making art. She has developed a style that combines collage technique with sculptural use of vintage, found objects. She finds that using the odds and ends helps her to cope with her fragmented emotions. She is also proficient in graphic arts and is always challenging herself in her approaches to art, exploring all sorts of other media.

     

     

  • Angel Pellegrino

     Angel Pellegrino is an autistic artist living in Chattanooga.  They enjoy making artwork that explores the joy of animals and enjoying natural wildlife.  They are drawn to the world of fantasy creatures as well as angels and those influences often show up in their artwork.  Creating artwork helps to relieve their anxiety and develop a healthy routine of being outside the home.  Angel is currently pursuing a degree in Gender and Sexuality Studies from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. 

  • Barbara "Bob" Brander

  • Benjamin Brown

    Benjamin Brown was raised in Chattanooga, TN. He has struggled with mental health issues since childhood, and is also a recovering addict, who used drugs to self-medicate through his struggles. Fortunately, he has made art as long as he can remember, and now focuses on creating to help him cope. Although he is currently homeless and struggling to get back on his feet, he is working and continues making and selling his art through H*Art Gallery. In his words, “Art helps me see and connect with my soul.”

     

     

  • Brenda Martin

    I have fond memories of growing up with my mother sewing, quilting and doing other crafty things.  It was always fun going to fabric stores tosee the beautiful array of fabrics.  While in school, I developed a love of sewing and an interest in other fiber arts and crafts.  A few years ago,I played around with oil and acrylic painting but always got more satisfaction from working with fiber arts such as crocheting, knitting, embroidery and macrame.  In 2002, I developed an eye condition called blepharospasms.  This is a rare disorder in which my eyelids would spasm and try to close in bright light, sun light and especially fluorescent lighting.  Botox injections around each eye every three months helped to calm the spasms.  As I've gotten older, the condition has lessened and i am enjoying doing doing various crafts such as macrame in the low vision group at Hart Gallery.
  • Button Eros

    Hi! My name's Button, and I'm based right here in Chattanooga. Tennessee has been home since I moved here when I was 4. I have suffered physical, emotional, and mental abuse by my family for as long as I can remember. Even though I'm homeless, life has been improving since I ran away. I am working on healing with my therapist and getting my mental health concerns diagnosed and treated. I've been making art in lots of different ways since 2007, but I love drawing, painting, and chalk markers the most. Art has always been my outlet and coping strategy. The creativity empowers me, knowing the limitless potential of a blank canvas. Challenging myself to learn different techniques while fine-tuning my style is fun! I mostly take inspiration from nature: the sky and clouds at sunrise or sunset, or even water, woods, and mountains. Sometimes inspiration comes from the most random things, such as new experiences or a new perspective on something in my daily life. It's wild and elusive, and I never know when it'll strike or what will inspire me! 

  • Chauncey

    Chauncey is a young Tennessee native who finds inspiration in nature and the injustices of life. Using original concepts and techniques passed down from their great grandmother, a watercolor artist, Chauncey captivates emotions on canvas. Having been dealt less than ideal cards in life, this artist has found peace in creating and hopes you can find peace in observing their work. Chauncey is a multi-medium artist who combines timeless painting techniques with vintage or repurposed textiles to create new worlds that every viewer can relate to in different ways. 
  • Christopher Kolbas

    Christopher Kolbas is a 30 year-old twin who was diagnosed with Autism. Chris has a love for drawing with pens and colored pencils. His subjects are usually extinct dinosaurs, new species, and his own Manga. They are called “Christopher's Adventures" where some of characters are family members or people he knows. His cartoons are packed full of action and comedy. It is a great honor to appear in Christopher's Adventures! Chris is looking forward to learning and improving his art techniques with the folks here at H*Art Gallery.

  • Crystal Donne Kelsey

    Crystal Donne Kelsey is originally from Alaska, and has traveled to several states throughout her life. She has recently struggled with homelessness and continues to face this battle. Not long ago she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has also faced other health problems such as Anemia. Crystal uses her artistic skills in painting to say the things that cannot be said out loud. Crystal wants to leave behind a beautiful legacy. She hopes that her art will make people ask important questions and will bring others positive experiences.

  • Cynthia Barber

    Cynthia Barber was born in Jacksonville, Florida but has lived in Fort Oglethorpe for the last twenty years. She is coping with schizophrenia, a developmental disability, and is a cancer survivor- having been in remission since 2012. Cynthia sometimes experiences moments of depression during hard times in her life. When she begins to feel depressed she turns to art to lift herself up. She has been drawing for forty years and art is a big part of her life. For as long as she can remember she has always wanted to be an artist.

     

  • Daniel Nugent

    My name is Daniel Nugent. I like to draw because it's fun and I enjoy it. It keeps me busy and my mind occupied. Drawing is an activity that I feel that I do well. I have been abused in the past and this activity helps me take my mind off the past. I thank God everyday that I am not in the situation anymore.
  • Darron DeSantis

    Darron DeSantis, originally from Keene, New Hampshire, has been a resident of East Ridge since 2012. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Art Education from Plymouth State University and studied at The Savannah College of Art and Design. Darron taught in public preschools and elementary schools in New England for 14 years. In 2010, after being unlawfully terminated from employment, he became homeless and jobless for the first time in his life. After a brief rocky period, Mr. DeSantis became a member of Chattanooga’s AIM Center and received treatment for Bipolar Disorder. He is an active volunteer at his church, as well as at his local Masonic Lodge.  He continues to find solace in creating art, primarily enjoying illustration with pen & ink and watercolor.  His work often focuses on historical sites and landmarks, due to his avid interest in history. 

  • David Hudson

    David Hudson has always loved art. When he was a student at Brainerd High he won several art competitions. He was homeless when he got in a fight that left him disabled on his left side and makes it difficult for him to speak. Luckily he can “speak” through art. His drawings and paintings are articulate expressions of his unique vision.

  • De Michael McGee

    De' Michael McGee was born into a single home in Chattanooga in 1978 and alternated between parents. He has a history of mental health issues that were not understood in his childhood and adolescence. He served a determined sentence as an adolescent in the Department of Youth Detention; and he feels strongly about advocating for youth that end up in the juvenile justice system rather than receiving the mental health assistance they may need. De Michael was later accurately diagnosed with Schizophrenia and Bi-Polar Disorder. De Michael also struggles with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis in his hand and both knees. He has been a member of AIM Center since Friday the 13th 2013 and discovered his artistic talent in their Integrated Arts Program. De Michael strives to be a leader to at risk youth in the Chattanooga community and is determined to live his life with integrity.

     

  • Deborah Kirby

    Deborah Kirby grew up in Texas, but embraced a gypsy existence after college. Although she’s had different jobs in different cities, she’s always been involved in the arts. She’s been a dancer (eons ago), singer, photographer, actress (for over thirty years), director and teacher. Teaching is what brought her to this area from Washington, DC. Her love of the visual arts developed after she needed to stop teaching due to the progression of her multiple sclerosis. She has experimented with different media from colored pencils and pens to markers, watercolor, and acrylic paints. She is particularly fascinated with using textures in her predominantly- abstract artwork. She credits her inspiration to the Lord and His multi-formed creation, and she is profoundly grateful to the Hart Gallery for allowing her art to be seen outside of her home. 

     

  • Dennis Williams

    Dennis Williams was born in Chattanooga, TN. where he currently resides. He is perhaps better known as “The Hat Man,” because he sports unique and whimsical hats that he changes out daily. Dennis’ story is nothing short of miraculous. He was in a very serious car accident when he was 9 years old, which left him with brain injury and nerve and growth damage to the left side of his body. He was in a twenty-eight-day coma, during which, he was resuscitated three times! After a long recovery, he received intensive rehabilitation to learn to walk and speak again. He was primarily homebound but was eventually able to finish elementary school and graduate from Brainerd High School. He had trouble with employment because of his limited mobility but was determined to persevere and even went through special vocational rehabilitation. He began to volunteer at a nursing home and after learning about his struggles Goodwill Industries sought him out for employment. He became an important spokesperson for Goodwill, doing speaking engagements and appearing in their advertisements. He is now celebrating 35 years of employment through Goodwill! He heard about H*Art Gallery through a co-worker and fellow H*Art artist. He says, “H*Art makes me see that I can do things that I didn’t know I could do…I love the way it makes me feel just coming here…”

  • Edna Milian

    Edna Milian is originally from Puerto Rico and was in mainland USA from 1981 (in Chattanooga since 2010), until about a year and a half ago when she returned to Puerto Rico to care for her elderly parents and disabled brother. She is a registered nurse but after 2010 became disabled and no longer works in the medical field. She has been a lifelong caregiver, helping to raise and support several foster children and also works as a private caregiver. She is passionate about social justice issues, and does volunteer work to help women and children, most recently with victims of human trafficking. She enjoys hiking, Bible study, cooking, and traveling. She finds painting to be very relaxing and notes that it helps her to express herself through colors, forms, and shapes. She finds herself too busy to create art these days, but says that she loves to look at art and is always logging ideas to hopefully use later when her life allows.

  • Ellen Zahorec

     Ellen Zahorec was raised in the Byzantine Catholic faith in Ohio.  She received her BFA and MFA, and maintained a home, studio, and gallery.  After a personal tragedy, where her home and creative spaces were lost, Ellen began to suffer from severe depression and psychosis. Until her sister and caregiver, Debbie’s death in 2015 she came to H*Art Gallery regularly on Wednesdays and Thursdays where she used her art to work through her anxiety.  Her design motifs became a pathway to quieting depressive and racing thoughts.  Every line, every dot represents one more step in Ms. Zahorec’s journey of faith and perseverance.  She has conquered her emotional difficulties and now resides in Florida at a senior living community near her family.

  • Erica Birch

    Erica Birch came to H*Art Gallery through Partnership for Children & Families. She is a survivor of physical abuse and emotional trauma. She suffers with her diagnosis of depression and bipolar disorder. Erica chooses to focus on the light within her to move forward. Her words say it best, "Despite all that has happened, I have always felt loved and supported. I especially feel a deep sense of community at the H*art Gallery. It's beautiful place and I have come to think of it as my family. It's a place where we can come together and choose not to focus on the ugly. Instead, here at the Hart I can confidently choose to take all that has been broken, and channel it into something therapeutic. I have gained the courage to sculpt a new soul journey with new friends. Here I can choose to rise from the ashes. I choose to create not just art but happiness, wholeness, and health. Thank you for supporting my journey. Life is better with art. Live better now."

     

  • Eva Havis

    Eva Havis was born in Chattanooga, TN in 1958. She was interested in art at a very young age, particularly the houses and people she saw around her. Eva Attends AIM Center on a regular basis. Here she has an opportunity to develop her artistic skills and stay motivated to continue her art. Eva enjoys drawing with charcoal, pencil and oil pastels as well as experimenting with a variety of media. Art allows Eva to express herself in a very personal and unique way.

  • George Monds

    George Monds was born and raised in Chattanooga. He first became interested in drawing after he saw a portrait his mother drew of his grandmother. George is a recovering alcoholic and has been homeless on and off for the past 20 years. At various times, he has been able to move into low-income housing and has begun putting some structure back into his life, in part with help from his "Hart family." George has spent a few Christmas Seasons as a bell ringer with the Salvation Army. He has a heart for children, and donates 10% to St. Jude's Children's hospital. George hopes that selling his artwork will help him reach his goal of becoming self-sufficient one day.

     

  • Ghost

  • Ginger Langston

    Ginger Langston was born in Savannah, GA but has been a Chattanooga resident for approximately twenty years. She has always been interested in art, and been making creative work since childhood. Artistic talent runs in her family and has been her “anchor” for coping with difficult times. She comes to H*Art Gallery through Partnership as a result of a series of unfortunate personal circumstances. She is trying to get back onto her feet and be more self-sufficient. Her art allows her a means to express emotions that are otherwise difficult to express. She loves to work with oils and is excited to be showing and selling her lovely paintings at H*Art.

     

  • H*Art Gallery

  • HART GALLERY

    For many who need healing, hope, and family, the HART Gallery is a creative home. Our artists come from varied underserved backgrounds and circumstances: those experiencing homelessness, living with mental and physical disabilities, disabled veterans, women fleeing abusive situations, political refugees, and others. Our community programs are designed to serve our wide range of populations.
  • Hope

    “Hope” I’ve always pushed my body to the limit, whether it was climbing in Tennessee, surfing at the beach, snowboarding in the mountains, or competing in athletics. Now that I’m a disabled veteran of the USAF, my disability greatly impacts my physical mobility, and my art has stepped up to fill the void.  

    I intentionally use boards, paint, and materials that I find in abandoned, trashed urban areas. It cleans up the spaces, helps minimize my footprint, and brings the energy of where those items have been to my work. The splatter layers are typically created through popping (exploding) 50-100 paint cans that were left outside by other graffiti artists. I use those colors and textures as a jumping off point, and often work in personal themes by drawing and painting on top of and within those layers.

     

     

     

     

  • Isela Arredondo

     Isela Arredondo (Marysol’s Jewelry) was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco (Mexico) and has been a jewelry designer since 2004. She attributes her emotional healing and self esteem to her art and finds joy in helping others see the beauty and value of the creations of their hands. Like in life, she takes comfort and pleasure in taking different pieces of jewelry and making something whole out of something that was not. Isela finds her inspiration in being a strong role model for her daughter. She is the first in her family to attend college and is pursuing a profession as a massage therapist. Isela exemplifies the “pay it forward” philosophy of H*Art Gallery by having taught her art form to other women who have experienced her former situation through our H*ArtWorks program, in an association with Partnership for Children, Families, and Adults.

     

     

  • Jasen Boston

    Jasen Boston was born in Tampa, Florida. As a child, he had always been somewhat of a troublemaker but not by choice. In his early years, he tended to skip school a lot and got into mischief with friends. His parents decided he needed something to keep him out of trouble so they bought him a sketchbook and a dog and told him they were his new friends. At 13 years old, Jasen began living an introverted yet artistic life. While discovering a new passion in art he found a new way of expressing himself and likes to leave hidden meanings and symbols in his work, which aren’t apparent right away. Jasen taught four weekly classes for H*Art to pay for part of his tuition and became a chef at The Chattanoogan and married in August 2015. He continues to work in food service. We are so proud of all of Jasen’s successes.

     

     

  • JeJeh

    JeJeh is a native of West Virginia having moved to Chattanooga in 2017. She bravely navigates life through the meniscus of schizoaffective disorder, PTSD, and agoraphobia. While it’s not easy, art enables her to confront and adapt to a society that needs healing much like herself. Jessica wants to share the joy and comfort art has brought her to uplift the rest of the world in the same way.  Her work is dedicated to the most important influences in her life, which include: her mother Deborah, her brother Daniel, her husband Jonathan, and her stepdaughter Carolyn who reignited her childhood curiosity and imagination.

  • Jennifer Davis

    Jennifer Davis is a survivor of abuse and abandonment, in addition to being a cancer survivor. She receives support services from Johnson Mental Health, which is the connection that eventually led her to H*Art Gallery. The art-making process brings her overactive mind to a relaxed state and relieves the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. Jennifer began to explore art more than twenty years ago. Debilitating depression over the last several years interfered with her creative drive; however, Jennifer is now feeling optimistic about her future as an artist. She has a great therapist and also manages her symptoms with medication, and receives great emotional support from her son. She loves children and has a special relationship with her two great-nephews. Art is her greatest outlet and passion, and she is always ready to try new techniques and “mix it up.” Her goal is to have her own place and to become self-sufficient.

  • Jenny Cowley

    Jenny Cowley became a joyful addition to the H*Art Gallery community through the connection with the Chattanooga Area Brain Injury Association. Although Jenny wasn’t diagnosed with Mesial Temporal Sclerosis until she was 14 years old, she started having medical problems at age ten and had to have three brain surgeries before age 18. She found her love of art through an art class in high school, taught by Mr. Scott Leach. She was offered a scholarship for her artwork but was unable to accept due to her disability. Jenny started making art again through free painting classes that were offered through Hobby Lobby. She enjoys many art mediums including painting, which she uses most often. Jenny’s brain injury has affected a lot of areas of her life, but art comes naturally to her and is a great source of enjoyment.
  • Jessica Johnson

    Jessica Johnson is a self-taught artist. She has been deaf since birth and communicates through American Sign Language. She has had a love of art for as long as she can remember and has found her voice through creating. She wants to learn more and share her passion with others through example and teaching. She hopes her work makes others happy and speaks to them as it does to her.

  • John Coniglio

    John Coniglio is a Chattanooga area artist who works in photography and multimedia while coping with CIDP, a neuro-muscular disability that makes walking difficult and writing nearly impossible. Subjects of his work range from daily life to the world of nature and the passing railroad scene. Through gallery exhibition and personal initiatives, he strives to encourage other individuals with disabilities to follow their muse and share their work.

     

  • Judy Aslinger

    Judy Aslinger was born and raised on a farm in Sale Creek, TN. in 1958. She is the mother of 7 children, but says there are many other who called her "Momma". She is self taught artist who works in a wide variety of media such as: painting, sewing, knitting, and jewelry. Through a series of unfortunate events including a car wreck and a stroke (which left her unable to work), she lost almost everything. She moved in with a childhood friend who turned out to be a abusive drug user. She herself used drugs to cope, but is now in a group home and living drug free. Despite health problems and other challenges, she has goals of getting a home, a car, and being able to help her youngest child through her last year of college. She receives counseling for her depression, and uses art as a mean of recovery and rejuvenation.
  • Kathleen Williams

    Kathleen Williams is a Chattanooga native who moved to Covington, GA after her mother’s death at age 6. She is a survivor of childhood abuse and has struggled with PTSD, ADHD, bi-polar disorder, and other forms of mental illness. She has been drawing since a young age, and has been painting for about a year now, through art classes at the AIM Center. She finds art to be very soothing, relaxing and helpful to her in times of illness. She loves to paint reproductions of famous works as well as plants and animals. She looks forward to creating more and selling her work through H*Art Gallery.

  • Kevin Dowdy

    Kevin Dowdy, who has been blind for over half of his life, came to H*Art Gallery with a love for beading. He participates weekly at H*Art Gallery’s open studio and at H*Art Gallery community classes where he creates handmade beaded crafts and frames out of recycled calendar paper, as well as original paintings with a variety of tactile materials. He feels a huge sense of accomplishment upon the completion of each piece of work.

  • Khambrel Green

    Khambrel Green’s early introduction to art came from watching his dad create his art. He was a high school art teacher in Chattanooga. At the end of 1999, I worked at an art retail store in Seaside, California, where my painting career began. From 2000 to 2005, I studied the material aspects of creating two- dimensional art. Unschooled, I felt unencumbered by the rules and guidelines that art students find themselves shouldering. My educational influences are the library books I continually read and the paintings I study in museums and galleries. In 2005, I had a fall resulting in a C4 spinal cord injury. However, I was able to create a relationship with Yahshua and resume painting. My work is influenced by Situationist theory, seventies punk rock ethics and Conceptualism. I am exploring the notions of what a painting is, why it is of value and how I may symbolically reveal my self and the times that I live in through my art.

  • Malphas Green

    Malphas Green has grown up in isolation and finds difficulty in communicating with others. He channels his personal tragedy and unique perspective into all art forms. He enjoys drawing, painting, tattooing, airbrush, martial art, graffiti, fire performance, and more! He describes his style as surreal, subliminal, and real. He is deeply interested in the unknown and philosophical ideas or subjects. He is excited to be in the company of others at the H*Art gallery.

  • Mark Herron

    Howdy, I am Mark. Visual Art is a passion that pre-dates my verbal communication and is a comfort zone in and out of the studio. I describe my art as eclectic; it is a collection of my thoughts on a page. As a child, I desired to be an artist and I attended Tennessee Governor’s School for the Visual Arts between my Junior and Senior year of high school where I gained experience in jewelry and graphic design. I struggled to make a decision about my career journey, but ultimately I picked science education over graphic design. I taught high school in North Carolina and Tennessee, serving my Lord as best I could. Upon my disability being fully documented, I returned to art making, and it became a peaceful and calming way to connect with others. In addition to art, I also enjoy cooking, frisbee golf, mountain biking, and hiking. Please enjoy exploring the worlds within my art.

  • Marlon Davis

     Marlon Davis started his profession of art at a young age selling or trading his art with fellow students. “I found myself in a rather peculiar position…being from Chattanooga it was always easy to find a quiet place to go. I had time to see various sites only a child would see and now I still have a very extreme imagination. It wasn’t too long before I stopped wondering. I picked up a pencil and started putting my God given gifts on paper. Now, everytime I begin to draw, I can't help but to think about the old days.” Marlon has continued to be a lifelong artist even through his struggles. At some point he tried working in a restaurant, but found that his mental health caused too much of a barrier. He now receives disability and has been a member of Johnson Mental Health Center since he was twenty one. Even while experiencing paranoid symptoms and homelessness, Marlon continues to share his love of art with the world.

  • Mary Stockton

    Mary was born and raised in Michigan and has moved around a lot.  She is a survivor of domestic abuse.  She is the mother of four grown children and grandmother to seven grandchildren.  She has been in recovery for five years.  She enjoys arts and crafts and is currently crocheting and painting with acrylics.  She is appreciative to have an opportunity to create at Hart Gallery.
  • Michael Green

    Michael Green is a truly special and well-loved person. His love of painting comes from his mother. They would bond with a paintbrush when Michael was growing up. Since his mother has passed, Michael has kept the tradition going. He does not let his intellectual disability stop him from his goal in life to use art to bring joy to others. He continues to use his talent to foster a connection with his mother and uplift those around him.  

  • Michael Tyous

    Michael Tyous was born and raised in Chattanooga, TN. He comes to H*Art Gallery through the AIM Center, where he has been making art since 2014. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 24, and most of his symptoms are managed with medication. His active involvement with the art program at AIM is a release for him and helps to calm the voices in his head and improve his mood. He is inspired by nature and influenced by Japanese culture. He loves to draw and paint animals and has also been experimenting with creating three-dimensional pieces with paper and cardboard.

  • Misty Hicks

    Misty Hicks is a lifelong native of Chattanooga. When she was around driving age and applying for her drivers’ license, she learned that something was drastically wrong with her eyes. She dropped out of school in the middle of her senior year because she was having such a hard time adjusting to her declining vision. She had been misdiagnosed and it wasn’t until she was 21 that she received her proper diagnosis of Retinitis Pigmentosa which has a slow progression. During some of this time, she was able to do a rehabilitation program and work part time in various jobs in grocery and food service, though the challenges of transportation and low hours and pay didn’t really make things any easier. At age 25 she was fully blind. Her life took a brighter turn in 2015 when she learned about Signal Centers of Chattanooga. There she was exposed to new technology that would aid in her independence . She learned about the Low Vision Art Expression group at H*Art Gallery and now has a renewed interest in art. More importantly, she appreciates the therapeutic benefits. She laughingly points out that it has helped with her patience, and adds that it’s “a good stress reliever.” She also says that even for a little while, it “helps [her] forget that [she’s] blind.”

  • Nathan Lassiter

    Nathan Lassiter grew up drawing on walls, bills, and school tests. He graduated to loose-leaf paper, then after being chastised by a professional artist about the lines went on to use typing paper and sketch books. Cartoons and comic books were a huge influence on Nathan, and he loved to try to draw the characters from them. After high school her joined the U.S. Air Force and was stationed in Japan. While there, he found the Japanese style of comics called Manga; they have different focuses of character, and it is vey stylized. His style of drawing changed to reflect these influences. In the middle of this, the second Gulf War kicked off and he was stationed in the Middle East. While in the Middle East he was still able to access sketch pads, and he continued to use drawing as an outlet for his emotions. After he came back to the States his style changed again to a more Stylized Realism: it makes people look real enough to recognize but without stray hair or wrinkles etc. Now Nathan draws to feel better about himself; to promote a feeling of accomplishment and to better his self-esteem. 
  • Patricia Gilley

    Patricia S. Gilley is a Chattanooga native. She feels proud and blessed to have raised five children, despite experiencing domestic violence and other traumatizing circumstances. She says that motherhood taught her to be frugal and helped her to have the skills to survive on a fixed income. She comes to H*Art Gallery through AIM Center, where she started to make art in the fall of 2017. Art helps her to cope with her mood disorder. She enjoys copying the works of old masters, and particularly loves Leonardo Da Vinci. She considers Leonardo to be an inspirational mentor, who “went a long way, despite his past,” which is her own aspiration. She loves to paint and is excited that she can exhibit and sell her paintings through H*Art Gallery. Her hope is that her art will leave a legacy for her grandchildren.

  • Paul "MexOne" Vetne

    Paul "MexOne" Vetne was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and raised under the influence of artistic parents. From an early age, he was taught to appreciate his heritage and he pulls from his origins when undertaking artistic endeavors. His formal education earned him a Bachelor of Fine Art in Studio Painting from Andrew University in southwest Michigan. Employment in screen printing and broadcasting exposed him to these art forms and broadened his horizons and experiences. He was also a professional Tattoo Artist for 15 years, which honed his disciplined studio practice. He had to retire from tattooing after a significant health crisis, where he stroked, coded, died, and was resuscitated. After a week of a medically induced coma and heavily medicated sleep, he began to regain consciousness to a point where he could sit up and participate in artistic activities. At first it was not focused, and it was only with the assistance of loved ones that he was encouraged to start handling drawing utensils and undertaking daily projects. Soon, his personal art therapy took on as much significance in his recovery as his work with professionals in physical and speech related rehabilitation. During the 11 hours a week in dialysis for a failing kidney, art became even more of a constant companion for Paul. From his memory, it took about three weeks to move from scribbles to focused and complete drawings that returned to techniques utilized before his stroke. From that point on, each drawing has been a step forward into the unknown.  
  • Quincey A. LaRoux

    Quincey A LaRoux "Hello! My name is Quincey and I've been creating art since I could remember, but haven't been confident to share with others till now. I'm living in Chattanooga, TN, devoting my time to my son, a budding artist, and my work; getting out on that limb and making magic on a whim! In my work, I use high-quality materials- glass beads, stone beads, ceramic beads, bone beads, and sometimes wood, rarely plastic. I try to repurpose items and/or reclaim items if possible. My work is constantly evolving. All of my creations are completely handmade, so every creature and piece is truly unique. Each listing is representative of the particular style I had happened to use that day. No two pieces will ever be the same. I invest a lot of energy, passion, and time in my work, so I sincerely hope that you will be happy to have one of them.”
  • Rebecca Leahy

    Art has been both a saving grace for me during times of serious illness and loss; as well as an outlet to explore my passions in multiple areas of creativity.  Growing up in Philadelphia, I was fortunate to be surrounded by the city's rich history and to have access to museums which inspired my love of art in all forms.  I hold a degree in graphic design from St. Petersburg College.  After a career in foster care and child protective services, I left to pursue a new direction which focused on my art.  I have since taught classes in a variety of mediums ranging from colored pencils to polymer clay.  My current artwork focuses on my love of nature and animals while utilizing a variety of pencils, watercolors, and pastels.  I am grateful for the artistic encouragement given to me by my grandma and dad early on.  The lessons my father instilled in before his passing provided the framework for how I continue to show up and survive.  Be Humble, Show Kindness and most importantly revel in both laughter and the love of the Lord in good times and bad.
  • Richard Thompson

    Richard Thompson is a self-taught glass artist. He suffers from bi-lateral radial nerve syndrome and cannot open his fingers without use of another object. At 53, he retired from U.S.A.F. He has been working with glass for over fifteen years and his style adds new meaning to the word “mosaic.” His generous spirit led him to H*Art Gallery and we are thrilled to have seen his style evolve throughout the years.

     

  • Robert Castor

    Robert Castor grew up on the streets of the West Coast, primarily in California. He was in and out of foster care and family homes due to an unstable home life. He found some stability when he moved to Las Vegas with his uncle, Scott Garcia, as a teenager. It was there that he first really connected with art. He won a scholarship to an Academy of Art in San Francisco but was only able to go for about a semester because he couldn’t afford to live there, even in Oakland. He became homeless and eventually moved back to Las Vegas. He continued to make art on his own, influenced by abstraction, Surrealism and graphic novels. In addition to art “gigs” such as making murals for tattoo parlors and Comicon, he worked at casinos, was a rising amateur boxer, and the lead singer of a punk band! He came to Chattanooga in early 2000 and got into a car accident. His whole world imploded due to suffering severe bodily injury and a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). He has spent many years in recovery, learning how to adapt to a new skill set, including changes in his painting style due to wrist-control issues. He considers art to be his “silent scream,” his way of expressing both love and pain.

  • Robert Waters

    Robert Waters is a native of Chattanooga. He is an active member of the AIM Center and has enjoyed making art at Lighthouse and H*Art Gallery, as well. Robert has struggled with homelessness due to mental health issues since young adulthood. He values the support he receives from his family and his group home. He appreciates all forms of art including: visual art, music, dance, fashion, and culinary. He enjoys gardening and participating in special events with AIM and H*Art Gallery. Robert is outgoing and never meets a stranger. His unique and creative sense of personal fashion makes him recognizable and leaves him remembered.

     

  • Ruby Ford

    Ruby Ford is a member of the AIM Center and an active participant in the Art Studio Program. She is grateful that she has the opportunity to enjoy art and be creative. She has developed a passion for painting, drawing, sculpture, bookmaking, and collage. She enjoys working with paint, sand, wood, plaster, and graphite. Ruby has been a musician since junior high and high school band; playing alto-saxophone and has now expanded her repertoire to include the visual arts.

     

  • Sara Coolidge

    Sara Coolidge has a degree in Early Childhood Education, and is an artist, author, and tutor. She is a life-long learner and has taken many online art classes by fellow artists. Her whole life she has enjoyed being involved in the arts. Her life-long hobbies include acting, pottery, quilting, mixed media arts, creative writing, and teaching. She has been battling the beast of mental illness for twenty years, but her illness has also enabled her to develop her unique artist style. Sara’s work has been referred to as prolific by Lauren Delamater, her high school art teacher. Sara co-teaches art periodically at Mountain Arts Community Center on Signal Mountain. God has blessed her, and she credits her success to her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Nami has also been a great support for her and her family, and because of this ten percent of her sales will be donated to Nami Chattanooga. Sara says “I am thrilled to be a part of the Hart Gallery community. I really need the support that the Hart gives artists and help selling my work. They are enabling me to do something I could never do on my own.” 

     

  • Sarah Kephart

    Sarah Kephart was born in Cleveland, TN. and currently lives in Chattanooga. She comes to the H*Art Gallery through the AIM Center, where she enjoys taking art classes. She likes being able to use art supplies that she might not normally have access to, and likes the community atmosphere that it provides because she has had trouble making friends in the past. Ironically, the one thing that she fears the most (other people) is actually the thing that she desires the most, and is receiving that connection with others through her art experiences. She feels that art allows her to communicate her feelings in a safe way. She has been struggling with Anorexia, in addition to other mental health issues for about ten years, which culminated in a long-term stay in a treatment facility and is doing well in her recovery. Art has been a crucial element in her recovery process, helping to relieve mental and emotional stress by enabling her to get her darker moments out on paper. She also loves the way that her art can help her relate to others through shared experience. One of her artistic goals is to communicate a sense of belonging for anyone that might feel marginalized in any capacity.

  • Shawna K. Lindsey

    Shawna K. Lindsey - God has used art, music, writing and photography to help me heal from various traumatic events in my life. Most of all, my relationship with Jesus Christ has given me hope, peace and freedom.  I greatly enjoyed raising my three children. Over many years I obtained a bachelor's degree in speech pathology, a law degree and a doctorate in theology. I have spent the past twelve years writing Christian apologetics. My website is swordcrossandcrown.org. I began substitute teaching 2017 and am now a special education paraprofessional in a middle school.  Between us, my husband and I have five children and ten grandchildren. 

     

  • Signal Centers

    Signal Centers Adult Services includes an evolving arts focused Day Program for Individuals with Disabilities and Aging Individuals in Chattanooga and N. Georgia communities, as well as an Employment Services program designed to assist Individuals with Disabilities in obtaining and retaining meaningful employment in variety settings. 

    Signal Center Adult Tiles

    The mediums used for these pieces include ceramic tiles and alcohol inks.  It is a project where individuals of all abilities are able to participate in the creation of the artwork.   Perfection is not the goal but an end result that is mixed and matched with on another because of the colors and styles that are used.

    The process includes individuals beginning with a blank ceramic tile and then brushing a mixing medium over the top of the tile.  Then comes the decision of what colors to use - too few colors and the tile looks empty, too many colors and they tend to bleed to an overall muddy effect.  The inks are then dripped onto the tiles using a light touch and then can be blended using a variety of techniques such as, allowing the ink to mix on its own, using a small brush, a straw, or tilting the tiles. The end result is unique to each artist who creates the piece.

     

     

  • Stacey Stokes

    Stacey Stokes was born in Chattanooga, TN. and graduated from Howard High School. He remembers liking art from a young age and even being told that he had “artistic hands” as a young man. He attended Chattanooga State focusing on welding, but was unable to finish his degree. He was diagnosed with depression and Schizophrenia as an adult. He came to H*Art Gallery through his attendance of therapy and art classes at the AIM Center. He speaks enthusiastically of expressing himself through his art, and playing guitar and singing. He also has an interest in making movies/videos and fashion. He likes that visual art can be reflective of the artist’s emotions but that it can also be seen and interpreted differently by different people. He mentions that when he looks at a piece of art, that he is “adding to it” in his own imagination. He is excited to be displaying and selling his art here at H*Art Gallery.

     

  • Trinity Newman

    A mountain girl from the Rockies, Trinity is a classically trained artist who attended the Colorado Academy of Art.  She creates new paintings on a daily basis despite struggles with her mental illness.  Trinity has worked primarily in charcoals and black and white oil paint, creating unique animals and landscapes with sacred geometry.  However, she has discovered a new-found love for working in color in a more experimental style.  She loves to explore new techniques with her art and continues to challenge herself with different styles of work.  It is Trinity's dream to have a solo show, and she is tirelessly working toward that goal by producing new art at a prolific pace.
  • Vanessa Riddle

    Vanessa Riddle is originally from Knoxville, TN., but has lived in Chattanooga for over 20 years. She says that art has always been her passion. She recalls doing art since she was very young, drawing on the walls and furniture and playing in the mud. She lives with Schizoaffective Disorder but manages her mental health with medication and support from her loving family. She uses art as a means of coping and sees her creative process as a form of meditation. She loves to create watercolor paintings and pottery. She sees art as an illusion or dream, and says that her paintings and pottery define who she is.

     

     

  • Vicki Henson

    Vicki Henson attends a weekly art expression group for artists with low vision here at H*Art Gallery. She was a weaver for 15 years, but as her vision narrowed, she became dissatisfied with struggling to create textile art. She became withdrawn and depressed with the realization of her new challenges. Being able to explore new mediums in our low vision group has helped her feel less isolated and has helped her to cope with her lessening and changing visual abilities. Art is empowering her to “let go” and have more courage. She now says, “the more I do art, the more I want to.”

  • William "Bill" Sera

    William "Bill" Sera is a Florida native, who now resides in Chattanooga, TN. He came to H*Art Gallery through Aim Center’s Studio Program. He is a survivor of early childhood abuse, who thankfully had family who intervened at 5 years old. He is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and struggles with other mental health issues relating to this early trauma, but art helps him to deal with his struggles. In his words, he “uses art as a cathartic way of telling his story.” As a big fan of film, he sees himself as viewing art like a director who is making a movie. He is a big fan of architecture and loves to focus on it in his paintings. He uses the bright, happy colors of Miami Beach architecture to represent his lighter, playful side, and collage to reflect his darker moods. If Bill “hits it big” with his art, he would love to one day own his own art studio and gallery.

     

  • William Engerson

    William Engerson is a prolific artist and area native. Due to family separation and his mother’s mental illness, he was sent to Bethel Bible School, a foster home, in which he learned to take care of himself. He became interested in the arts at a young age while copying illustrations from Treasure Island. He was homeless for over fifteen years but is now housed at College Hill Courts, where he can create work in his own studio. William can typically be found painting in the Brainerd area, and he is a champion of keeping the “Arts Alive” in Chattanooga. 
  • William Wade

    William Wade has always had a strong passion for art and dreamed of one day having his work shown in a gallery. William is a fighter, surviving colon cancer at the age of 22. Two years later an auto accident caused his spine to fracture in four places leaving him permanently disabled. While recuperating he began teaching himself how to paint. He mainly likes to work with oils and acrylic but likes to try other mediums as well. William would love more than anything to pursue a career in fine art. He is open to commission work.
  • Willie Watkins

    Willie Watkins was born and raised in Chattanooga, TN. Willie grew up in a rough neighborhood but believes that it’s not where you are from but how you live and how you treat people that matters. In 2003 Willie was the victim of a home fire that left him homeless for 4 or 5 years. Currently, he is in a stable place and happy to be creating art. He came to the H*Art Gallery with a determination to live righteously and with a good heart. He credits his faith in Christ for his resolve to be a good person. He has been drawing since his school years, and loves to paint, as well. He is very interested in many aspects of the natural world and uses that as inspiration for most of his artwork. Willie believes that you can find art in your heart, and encourages others to explore their creativity. He wants to be a champion for the innocent and otherwise oppressed, and to shed a bright light with his welcoming spirit and awesome art.

  • Yvonne