Walking through the “Shared Visions Art Exhibit” at the Southern California College of Optometry Eye Care Center, it appears to be like any other art exhibit. At first glance, the exhibit contains all your usual suspects: the captivating photography, the beautiful sculptures, the dynamic and detailed paintings, and the usual abstract art. But look again: Every piece of artwork within the third-annual exhibit was created by blind and legally blind artists.

The exhibit started per the suggestion of a patient after the center underwent extensive renovation, which left the walls too bare to even look at. Three years later, “Shared Visions” has grown to include pieces from more than 30 local and international artists from the United States and Canada to Sweden and Norway. The dynamic installation showcases all mediums, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photography and mixed media. And most remarkably, these artists all have been either blind since birth or have developed a particular eye disease—overcoming a seemingly monstrous obstacle all in the name of art. All this unbelievably detailed artwork accomplished by someone who literally is only able to see less of the world than you.

And yes, this exhibit is yet another example that just about anything can be accomplished despite seemingly immense barriers. Perhaps even the artistically impaired like myself and others (you know who you are) can hone some actual creative skills one day. (I doubt it.)

The Third Annual “Shared Visions Art Exhibit” at the Southern California College of Optometry Eye Care Center, 2575 Yorba Linda Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 449-7401; www.sccoeyecare.com. See website for hours. Through mid-August 2008.

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