This June, we’re thrilled to host a special exhibition of work by Sacramento-based Deaf-Blind blind mosaic artist Mary Dignan at our headquarters starting on Friday, June 8. That evening, we will also be welcoming prominent blind people from across the country who have come to San Francisco to select the 2018 Holman Prizewinners – more info at www.holmanprize.org.
We hope that you’ll join us for drinks and refreshments on Friday, June 8 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. at LightHouse for the Blind (1155 Market Street, in the ground floor lobby) to explore Mary’s work and to learn more about her process and passion for mosaics.
About the Artist
Mary Dignan was born with moderate to severe hearing loss, but her deafness was not diagnosed until she was almost 5 years old, after she had been diagnosed as having a cognitive disability. A routine eye test for reading glasses during her college years revealed the onset of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) symptoms. Eventually she would learn that she had Usher syndrome, Type 2, which is characterized by moderate to severe deafness at birth, and blindness from RP later in life.
She earned her undergraduate degree from Santa Clara University in 1976, and embarked upon a career that included newspaper reporting, legislative work for the U.S. House of Representatives and the California State Assembly Committee on Agriculture, public relations and governmental liaison work with one of California’s largest and most complex water agencies, and her own consulting business in the field of water and natural resources management policy.
In 1990, a year after she was certified legally blind with a restricted visual field of 8 degrees (a normal visual field is 180-150 degrees), she started law school. In 1994, she earned her juris doctorate with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, was admitted to the California State Bar, and began practicing water and natural resources law with the Sacramento firm of Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard. In 1997, she discovered she had a brain tumor and underwent surgery to remove it. The tumor and the surgery exacerbated and complicated her vision and hearing losses, and she has not practiced law since.
Instead, she practices healing and art and has a lot more fun. After ten years of increasing deafness, she received a cochlear implant in 2008 and is delighted to be back in the hearing world again.
Mary has shared her mosaic technique with blind and deaf-blind students in the US, Canada and India, and teaches mosaic classes in her home studio and through Creative Edge (www.creative-edge.org). Mary’s community service work includes six years on the Disability Advisory Committee to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, more than a decade of support and service to Bread of Life and Spirit in the Arts (www.breadoflife.org), and five years on the board of directors of the Sacramento Chapter of Foundation Fighting Blindness. She is presently a member of the Sacramento Embarcadero Lions Club.
Donate to support arts programming at LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. https://lighthouse-sf.org/donate