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Home > Clerc Center > Chuck Baird Shares His Vision of Deaf Art and Culture

Chuck Baird Shares His Vision of Deaf Art and Culture

Image: KDES student Alyssa Biega works alongside Chuck Baird on a De’VIA  artwork project.

KDES student Alyssa Biega works alongside Chuck Baird on a De’VIA artwork project.

Image: KDES principal Nancy Berrigan stands with Chuck Baird in front of the art installation Baird created which will be mounted on the walls of the KDES auditorium.

KDES principal Nancy Berrigan stands with Chuck Baird in front of the art installation Baird created which will be mounted on the walls of the KDES auditorium.

Chuck Baird, a well-known Deaf artist and one of the founders of the De’VIA (Deaf View/Image Art) movement, came to Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (KDES) this fall for a two-week artist-in-residency with third through eighth graders.

The concept for De’VIA was developed by Baird and a group of Deaf artists at the time of Deaf Way II, an international cultural and art festival held in Washington, D.C., in 2002 that attracted close to 10,000 participants. Baird’s artwork infuses American Sign Language (ASL) in the iconography of his paintings and drawings. Deaf art is created when the artist intends to express his or her Deaf experience through visual art.

“Deaf art expresses the values of Deaf culture—the beauty of sign language and its painful oppression, the joys of Deaf bonding, communication breakdowns between signers and non-signers, the discovery of language and community, and the history of Deaf people,” said Baird.

During his time at KDES, students created visual artwork with ASL elements as well as live ASL haiku poems. He introduced the students to his paintings through the book Chuck Baird, his website, and a field trip to see one of his works of art—showing a large group of people of all ages finding ways to communicate—installed in the Gallaudet cafeteria.

During this time, the students also had the chance to see Baird working on an art installation he created for the KDES auditorium and on two outdoor sculptures at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf.

The Clerc Center teachers and staff would like to extend their deep appreciation to Chuck Baird for sharing his artistic vision with both our KDES students and the Model Secondary School for the Deaf students as well as for the amazing art installations he created for each of the schools.