De"Via Mural 2013

What is De'VIA?


Deaf View/Image Art, also known as De’VIA, is art that examines and expresses the Deaf Experience from a cultural, linguistic, and intersectional point of view.

The 4 Elements of De’VIA:

De   Deaf & Deaf-Blind Expression of Affirmation, Resistance, and Liberation

V      View of how Deaf & Deaf-Blind experience the world

I       Images/Motifs/Symbols of the Deaf Experience

A      Art, Activism, Aesthetics, and Authentic Expressions of the Deaf Experience

De’VIA History


Deaf people often are naturally drawn to art as a visual means of communication. Despite the storied history of Deaf Artist, it was not until 1989 that a term was coined for this genre: Deaf View/Image Art, or De’VIA.

In 1989, Paul Johnson and Betty G. Miller formed a four day workshop for Deaf artists to explore works about the Deaf perspective. Nine visual artists came together: painter Chuck Baird, art historian Deborah (Sonnenstrahl) Blumenson, fiber artist Nancy Creighton, video artist Lai-Yok Ho, Fiber artist Sandi Inches-Vasnick, sculptor Paul Johnson, painter Betty Miller, painter Alex Wilhite and sculptor Guy Wonder.

It was at this gathering that they devised the term De’VIA (sign: DEAF-look-at-palm-ART). French in appearance as a nod to Laurent Clerc and ASL’s French origins, they created a manifesto that described De’VIA and a mural to accompany it. The group’s historical work was unveiled at the international Deaf Way Festival that following summer.



Chuck Baird, one of the nine signatories of the De’VIA manifesto and a much beloved De’VIA artist, constantly encouraged emerging De’VIA Deaf artists. It was his wish to explore and represent the Deaf Experience visually for all to see, feel, know and love.

Chuck Baird was born deaf in Kansas City and along with his three older sisters, went to the Kansas School for the Deaf. Baird graduated from KSD in 1967 and attended Gallaudet University for two years. He then attended Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf and received his bachelor’s degree in Studio Painting in 1974. In addition to his artwork, he was renowned as an actor and ASL storyteller. He performed as an actor with the National Theatre of the Deaf from 1980-1990.

Chuck Baird

Chuck Baird Foundation for the Visual Arts

Chuck Baird,  A Signatory of De'VIA

The Museum of Deaf History, Arts & Culture® is proud to share that the Chuck Baird Foundation for the Visual Arts is housed under the direction of Museum of Deaf History, Arts & Culture®.

Deaf View/Image Art

De'VIA  Highlights

2019 Youth De'VIA Competition

2019 Youth De'VIA Competition was hosted by Kansas School for the Deaf and the Museum of Deaf History, Arts and Culture.

Deaf students from twelve schools across the United States submitted a total 598 pieces of artwork for the 2019 Youth De'VIA Competition this spring.

Congratulations to all of the winners.  Each of them received a certificate of recognition and a gift.

Click on the link below for more information on the competition as well as a list of winners with pictures of each of the winning pieces of artwork.

2019 Youth De'VIA Competition Winners

De'VIA Artists' Motif Statements available in PDF

The Museum of Deaf History, Arts & Culture® was proud to have had the opportunity to partner with the Nelson-Atkins Museum in bringing De'VIA Challenge to the general public as a part of the 2016 Annual Deaf Cultural Month Celebration!  The De'VIA Challenge remained on display for the entire month of September 2016 in the Ford Learning Center of NAMA. 

This would not have been possible without the contributions of the following De'VIA Central Artists, for allowing replications of their artwork to be displayed:

Arnaud Balard
Jeff Beatty
David Call
Karen Christie
Amy Cohen Efron
Aurelio Cruz
Patti Durr
Kathy Fisher-Abraham
Jerry Grant
Takiyah Harris

Ellen Mansfield

Laurie Monahan
Stevie Naeyaert
Roz Rosen
Bob Rourke
Nancy Rourke
Paul Scearce
Diane A. Squires
Heidi Storme
Robert Tawney
Daniel Winship
Yusuf Yahya



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