I’m grateful for your stopping by this temporary blog. Rumors have been flying about my health and the Chuck Baird Foundation. While it’s certainly flattering to be a topic, I prefer that those rumors lead to something more positive and constructive towards long-term support for the Chuck Baird Foundation (CBF).
While it is true that I have terminal cancer, my doctor said people with my cancer usually have a limited time to live. But does that really matter? I say no, because I feel good, and have very strong hope and optimism about my life now. I ask that there be no more hoopla, blogs, vlogs, Tweets or postings about my supposed “nine-month death sentence,” because I want to live in the moment as I always have. My life has been fantastic to me, I have no regrets and I have no intentions of it ending anytime soon.
Some generous friends have been working to establish CBF as a non-profit agency for the promotion of emerging deaf visual artists. CBF’s mission is to identify and assist promising deaf artists in various ways, such as helping host individual or group exhibitions and featuring their artwork in mass media. Participating artists do not have to create solely De’VIA artworks; their art can be about any subject.
CBF will focus on those who pursue art as a profession because they deserve recognition and support from the deaf community and society at large. In America, there is a great lack of appreciation and knowledge of deaf artists as compared to what exists in Europe. In fact, when the De’VIA Manifesto was introduced in 1989 during the Deaf Way conference at Gallaudet University, the Europeans in attendance were more thrilled than the Americans. But we can eliminate that stigma or attitude and give sincere substantial support to our deaf visual artists in America!
It has been 21 years since the De’VIA Manifesto was written, and there has been positive growth for De’VIA. It is now included in many school curricula, and people are more aware about De’VIA’s existence. Even so, we are not where we should be, especially two decades later. And this is not our fault. We have not had enough education or training about De’VIA, and even in hearing schools, the arts are being reduced, discouraged or outright removed from educational settings. For a number of reasons, so few deaf people actually own pieces by deaf artists. Among the reasons is that many do not yet fully understand the significance of purchasing artwork by deaf artists.
I am confident that if more deaf people know about De’VIA, recognize the immense importance of supporting deaf artists through collecting their works and exhibiting their works, and are educated on the impact of De’VIA on Deaf culture, then there would be a rapid progression in the professionalization of De’VIA and less complaining about how much Deaf artists charge for their time and works.
Additionally, there is a good number of group exhibitions featuring deaf artists in the nation, but nowhere near the number it should be. This is also understandable; to host an exhibit is costly and time-consuming. Even so, we can have exhibitions in other ways, such as having an Internet exhibition, exhibitions at schools, or even filming artists to exhibit their works.
I could go on and on, but these matters are just a few that CBF will address. For instance, CBF will raise funds to film artists in their studios and then feature their works on the CBF website, similar to what is at www.zoom.coip.no. With your support – in the form of purchasing Deaf artists’ works, donating to CBF, or spreading the word about CBF –my dream of having more professional deaf artists who are financially secure will be realized at long last.
Before I close, I want to thank from the bottom of my heart all my friends, family, and colleagues for giving me continued morale support, spiritual support and financial support the last one year during my illness, treatment and ongoing recovery. God willing, I’d like to live to see CBF become a reality. Thank you always!
CBF’s website at www.chuckbairdfoundation.org will be activated soon. Until then, please visit my website at www.chuckbaird.com. I will also attend the DeafNation World Expo this July and have a booth with new artworks there. All sales from my artworks will directly benefit CBF. I hope to see you there.