1) The Corliss Institute – See their website to learn about the unique work they do in supporting Deaf adults with disabilities as well as being the state’s largest employer of Deaf adults.
2) Khang Nguyen (living in Vietnam)
In 2002, when I met Khang, he was 15. Khang is deaf and has received little formal education from school. I was told he had great talent as an artist and I was handed some of his work – watercolor on construction paper. It was unimpressive to this untrained eye.
The next year, I was given more of his work. It seemed slightly better, but I lacked the knowledge to see his potential. The following year, Khang began working in an art shop where a hearing man took him on and patiently taught him how to improve his techniques. His paintings became real paintings – oil on canvas and clearly the work of an artist.
Since that time, his work has become impressive. I buy these paintings there, so he is paid, and then we sell them here for a profit. The profits are returned to him. Because of the exchange rate between the Viet Nam dong, their currency, and the dollar, a small profit here is a lot of money there. I pay to have the paintings stretched here and ready for framing. The present selection of paintings are for sale for 125.00 – $375.00, so the profit is not huge, but makes a real difference in his income.
Khang lives in Cu Chi, Viet Nam, near Sai Gon. He barely scratches out a living in spite of his amazing talent. He lives with his family in a good home right now, but if he lived on his own, would be living in poverty. He is now 32 years old and was married in 2015. He has two children.
His long-term goal is to have his own studio. Earning a reasonable living this way is a real possibility because of the enormous difference in the exchange rate between the US dollar and Vietnamese currency (Viet Nam dong).
In 2009, $330.00 was sent to Khang from recent profits from the sales of his paintings. That is the equivalent of what he earns there in 10 months. In 2014, we sent $770.00. Khang is no longer able to work full time as an artist to support himself. This makes the sales here all the more important.
If you wish to see our gallery of his work at our Cranston ASLA Student Center, contact us for an appointment. You can also donate money to support his work.
Once a year, we have an art show, on a weekend. This year – date TBA, from 2 to 5 pm, One room will be filled entirely with Khang’s work. Profits from the sale of his pieces will be sent to him.
I will give a presentation on Vietnamese art, explaining about embroidery painting and Vietnamese style lacquer paintings and lacquer ware. We have commercially produced pieces for sale. The proceeds from those sales go to support our work here at ASLA.