Paintings & Prose: A combined art gallery and book store

Vocational and community integration for military servicemembers and civilians with traumatic brain injuries at Paintings & Prose: A combined art gallery and bookstore

“… In early 2008, artist and curator Dorothy Palanza volunteered her service to reestablish the gallery component of Paintings & Prose. An experienced designer, Palanza converted the downtown space into a dynamic, contemporary gallery with seven exhibit areas, maintaining both the functionality of the used bookstore and the number of volumes on the shelves. A primary focus of the gallery is to provide a professional forum for integrated shows by artists with and without disabilities. The disclosure of one’s disability status is entirely voluntary. Each artist determines what is important to include in his or her biographical statement. As curator Palanza notes, “visual art is a personal dialogue between the artist and the viewer. Art is able to relay messages where disability may or may not be an issue-everyone creates in their own way.”

Thus far, the gallery has hosted three significant shows, including an initial international exhibit focusing on women’s issues that later traveled to the Frauenmuseum in Bonn, Germany. Artists from Germany, Japan, Italy, and the United States volunteered their time and work to ensure the gallery reopening would be highly regarded and to establish the venue in the local arts community. The second show was a fully integrated exhibit prominently featuring members’ work, timed for the arrival of friends and family during the holiday season. The most recent group show of assemblages highlights the work of Dr. Richard Bay, an artist, professor, and survivor of brain surgery. Each exhibit has included a traditional opening night, where hundreds of members of the Charlottesville community enjoy hors d’oeuvres, view the art, and converse with program participants and staff. The art gallery component of the program serves as a forum for equality, diversity, and celebration of each individual…”