Suzanne Gibson received her training in commercial art from Bucks County Technical School. After 20 years of homeschooling children, teaching art and running a decorative arts business, Suzanne began focusing her full attention on painting. In 2009, Suzanne and her husband opened RIVER'S EDGE STUDIO, an art gallery and studio in New Brighton, PA. Suzanne knew she had Stargardt’s Disease, a degenerative eye disorder causing progressive vision loss. Soon after opening her gallery, her Stargardt's disease took a turn for the worse, making painting increasingly difficult. After seeing a painting exhibit by totally blind artist John Bramblitt at the Akron Art Museum, Suzanne was encouraged to find a new way to paint. She slowly realized God had given her a gift to see things differently, producing art she never would have previously. Suzanne’s vision has decreased significantly since the opening of her studio. She continues to adjust with each new challenge with the aid of assistive technology and a determination to keep creating.
Kirsten Ervin, M.Ed., is co-founder of Creative Citizens Studios, a Pittsburgh company that builds bridges between the arts and disability communities. CCS has provided art and accessibility training to several cultural organizations, including The Mattress Factory, The Andy Warhol Museum, The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and the Union Project. Through CCS, Kirsten teaches organizations both how to create both accessible exhibitions for patrons with disabilities and how to create accessible studios for artists with disabilities. Kirsten has worked extensively with the blind and visually impaired community in Pittsburgh for over 20 years, most recently in conceiving Touch Art, a series of tactile art workshops at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in the fall of 2013. Kirsten's passion is in teaching CCS' weekly art classes for artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities at the Union Project, and in creating opportunities for these artists to collaborate and connect with Pittsburgh's wider arts community.