A Firm Persuasion

New York

Saturday, November 1, 2014, at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital’s Art Ability, several hundred art lovers interested in works created by individuals with physical and cognitive challenges had the opportunity to view the work of Charles Blackwell and to meet the artist. Charles Blackwell, paints, writes poetry, loves jazz music, and lives and organizes writers’ workshops and community cultural arts events in the San Francisco area.

A 4-minute film, A Different Color Blue, by filmmaker Melanie Vi Levy broadcast as part of PBS POV series can be seen here.



“For years, Charles says he gave up, he checked out. He eventually started to work. He was a janitor at a church. He stuffed envelopes. He also taught writing workshops in prisons and he says the work in the cultural arena is what helped him cope and let him know he’s ok….’What I do to adapt is taking my defect and using it as my asset….I know that I’ve been alienated and I use my background’….”

Listen to Charles Mingus’ “Better Git It in Your Soul” and to Charles Blackwell talking about his work teaching at Lighthouse for the Blind to Robynn Takayama here at prx.org

Then I asked: Does a firm persuasion that a thing is so, make it so? He replied: All poets believe that it does, and in ages of imagination this firm persuasion removed mountains…

— William Blake

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

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