Sarah Kephart – Headshot Gallery B&W

Tenant Success StoriesBreaking Stereotypes Through the Universal Language of Art

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“Please touch the art!”

This is not something you’d typically hear at an art gallery, but it is encouraged at the Envision Arts Gallery & Community Engagement Center, located in the historic Grand Hotel building in downtown Wichita, and is just one of the reasons why the gallery is so unique.

For most people, art is a visual experience. For people who are blind or visually impaired, art can be a rich sensory experience of a different level. Creating art can become an outlet for self-expression. It can instill confidence and foster both tactile experiences and skills. It can also help people who are visually impaired feel more connected to other people and to their community.

Envision Arts Gallery‘s mission is to foster these experiences and to grow opportunities for those with visual, physical, cognitive and hearing disabilities to showcase their creativity and stories. Part of the parent company Envision, Inc., the Envision Arts Gallery is the nation’s first permanent gallery made by and for artists who are blind, visually impaired and/or disabled.

“Envision is opening doors and creating opportunities for people of all disabilities to share with the community,” said Sarah Kephart, MFA, Envision Arts Program and Gallery Manager. “We all have stories to tell, and we all deserve access to art and the opportunity to express ourselves through it.”

The gallery features art by local as well as international artists and rotates its main exhibition quarterly. Many pieces feature a variety of mediums, including elements such as dimension, texture and even braille to allow people to experience them through multiple senses, not just through sight. Each work of art has a designated QR code that links to a description which is repeated audibly on a person’s cell phone using a screen reading app.

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Creativity Leads to Confidence

For Roshunda Holt, creating art has helped her to develop skills and instilled new-found confidence. Roshunda was born with retinitis pigmentosa, which makes cells in the retina break down and causes a slow loss of vision. She was, as she describes, an insecure sighted person.

“I appeared clumsy due to issues with depth perception and holes in my vision,” Roshunda said. “This caused me to collide into things or trip on curbs. If I dropped a pen on the floor, I couldn’t see it clearly to pick it up.”

At age 23, Roshunda was diagnosed with the genetic condition and sought out local resources to help guide her throughout her journey for living with the condition. It was through the Kansas Rehabilitation Services program (offered through the Kansas Department for Children and Families) that she learned about Envision.

She began taking classes and workshops through the Envision Arts program. Then through the “Train the Trainer program,” she eventually started working part-time in Envision’s call center. Today, Roshunda is the Envision Arts Assistant, and is the first student turned full-time employee.

“Envision provided me with knowledge, resources and employment, but more importantly, helped me to gain confidence as well as more responsibility in the blind/visually impaired world,” Roshunda said. “I enjoy helping and being an advocate for others, and I realized that I am a benefit to the BVI world.”

Roshunda enjoys creating in multiple mediums, including string art, acrylic paintings and mosaics, and has been featured in several exhibits, both locally and nationally. One of her 4’ string art pieces can be seen at Mosley Street Melodrama in Wichita, and one of her Keeper of the Plains mosaics/sculptures is displayed at the local Aloft Hotel. She won 2nd place in the sculpture category at the 2022 American Printing House for the Blind’s annual InSights Art Competition for her piece titled Cat on a Windowsill.

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Empowering Artists in Our Community

In 2013, Sarah was an adjunct lecturer in the School of Art, Design and Creative Industries at Wichita State University when she discovered the Envision Arts program. She was immediately drawn to the company’s mission and the people it serves.

“Envision empowers people,” said Sarah. “And I saw that participants wanted to do so much more and be more a part of and connected to their community. I believe that art is a conduit to all the other wonderful services that Envision provides. It raises awareness of our mission which leads to new opportunities.”

Sarah added that Occidental Management’s chairman and CEO, Gary Oborny, and his wife Gretchen had the mission to commit to the vision of the gallery and community center. The Obornys are long-standing supporters of Envision as well as big supporters of the local arts community. Occidental Management, which owns and manages the Grand Hotel building, handled the leasing for the gallery space.

“A location with good visibility is important to the overall success of the gallery, and thanks to Occidental Management, our gallery is in one of the most visible locations in downtown Wichita.”

People and agencies from around the world have taken notice of the gallery and are reaching out to learn more in hopes of bringing a similar resource to their community.

“We’re breaking stereotypes,” Sarah added. “Art is a universal language and we’re demonstrating to the nation that people with disabilities have powerful artistic gifts while raising awareness for our mission.”

All proceeds from artwork and merchandise purchased from the Envision Arts Gallery and Community Engagement Center directly supports the artists as well as helps to fund artistic endeavors for the Envision Arts program. You can learn more about the gallery by visiting or by calling (316) 440-1699.

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