SCAC hosts Helen Keller Art Show, Robin Nance Metz Art Competition

Published 2:15 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Local residents currently have the opportunity to observe a variety of art pieces from students all over the state in the latest art galleries at the Shelby County Arts Council.

The Helen Keller Art Show of Alabama is back at SCAC. The gallery displays pieces from throughout the state made by students who have visual impairments, blindness and or deaf-blindness.

“I’ve called the entire exhibit mixed-media,” said Bruce Andrews executive director for the SCAC. “Anything from collages, to paint, to combinations of paint and textural things. A lot of it is raised, and it’s quite beautiful.”

Andrews provided an example of how certain disabilities lend themselves to artistic expression.

“Take for instance, somebody who has low vision, they might have more of tendency to use very vivid colors,” Andrews said. “They’re more easily seen so they kind of pop off the page. One girl took a rolled-up coffee filter and painted the coffee filters and made a floral arrangement.”

A reception for the Helen Keller Art Show of Alabama was held on Sunday, Jan. 23.

Roughly 120 people attended the event, and Sean of the South was a keynote speaker, Andrews said.

“He spoke for about 10 minutes, and he talked about his owning of a blind dog,” Andrews said. “He has a now famous blind dog named Marigold. He recounted for those kids how he adopted that dog. It was really touching and so, as a result of him adopting this dog and posting about it, he’s getting dozens of texts daily from people, who are vision impaired or blind, about this dog, about connecting with the whole situation. It was a great way of setting the tone for the day.”

Artwork from the Helen Keller Art Show of Alabama will be on display in the SCAC Grande Corridor Gallery until Friday, Feb. 24.

The SCAC is also currently hosting a gallery of work from the 2023 Robin Nance Metz Art Competition, formerly known as the Adult Juried Art Exhibit.

The competition allows students from all over the state to submit artwork to be judged professionally for a chance to be exhibited at the SCAC building and to win a placement.

“What you see in the Robin Nance Metz Art Show is the pieces that have been judged,” Andrews said. “You can also see the winners. There’s a pretty extraordinary mix of pretty high-level artwork from around the state.”

This will be the 13th year the show is hosted, however, this is the first time it is known as the Robin Nance Metz Art Competition.

The competition is now named after the local artist, Robin Nance Metz, who died in 2022.

“We were always struggling to give it some kind of worthy name,” Andrews said. “She (Metz) overcame all kinds of loss in her family and still was very positive (and) never quit creating art. She (was) just an all-around great person and after all that goodness she got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2020 and lost her life in 2022. So, we decided, without hesitation, to name our show after her.”

A reception was held for the Robin Nance Metz Art Competition on Sunday, Jan. 19 where they announced the winners of the competition.

The 2023 Robin Metz Art Competition Gallery is available in the EBSCO Fine Art Gallery until Thursday, March 9.

More information on the Shelby County Arts Council can be found online at