You know those annual events you live for? For some it’s Christmas, for others the Kentucky Derby. For us, Double Vision, a yearly fundraiser hosted by Visionaries + Voices, is an evening which consistently tops our list of annual events we love.

Visionaries + Voices (V+V) is a self-described, “inclusive arts organization dedicated to providing creative, professional, and educational opportunities for adults with disabilities.” V+V’s goal is to provide creative, professional, and educational opportunities.

V+V artists — who work in many genres—actively contribute to the greater arts community through creative, educational, and strategic partnerships with local and regional artists, schools, and business leaders.

Now in their nineteenth year, V+V is an expansive operation. The program provides exhibition opportunities, studio space, supplies, and support to more than 130 visual artists with disabilities. V+V Artists work with paint, clay, metal, fabric, colored pencils, ink, paper mache, collage, photography, assemblage, glass, wood, and digital materials.

In short, V+V provides the space, tools, supplies and guidance required to help disabled artists develop, practice and improve their craft. V+V operates in two locations in Cincinnati, in Northside and Tri County.

Most important, however, is the continual flow of inspiration, friendship and creative knowledge between staff and students. It’s a place without pretense, a place filled with joy.

“It’s a beautiful supportive community,” says Creative Director Karen Boyhen.

As V+V themselves state:

At V+V we are all on equal ground. There is a continual sharing of experiences from education, exhibition, and life. The studio staff hold BFAs in  print-making, ceramics, painting, and drawing. Local artists generously volunteer their time and expertise. In the V+V studios we are resourceful and committed to facilitating the work each artist is driven to make.

This fusion of love and creativity is most visible at V+V’s annual fundraising event, Double Vision , the purpose of which is to raise awareness and funds in support of the organization’s mission.

The heart of Double Vision is an annual auction of artwork created by V+V artists and local artists.

Each year, in the fall, V+V hosts a pairing party. Artists from the community come to V+V- many bringing samples of their work. Studio artists mix and mingle with local artists, sharing their work as well. When parties feel a connection- usually pairs, but sometimes three or four artists in a group- they agree to work together and collaborate in creating work for inclusion and sale at Double Vision.

Once the pieces for the show are created and voted on, an auction catalog is created and then distributed prior to the benefit.

On the night of the benefit- which is normally held at historic Memorial Hall-V+V supporters, artists and mentors, along with friends and family- gather for an upscale gala which includes a silent raffle of donated prizes during a cocktail hour, which includes hors-d’oeuvres during which interested parties bid on the donated prizes while also viewing the artist’s work.

At the end of the cocktail hour, everyone travels upstairs to the main hall where, with great fanfare and happiness, the pieces for the year are auctioned by professional auctioneers.

Competition for the pieces is sometimes fierce, in a good spirited atmosphere, with prices paid for the art rising each year. This year, V+V was able to raise over $67,000 to support V+V’s mission.

Double Vision, in addition to being a joyous event for all parties, is also important to the program and the entire community.

Funds raised during the event help to cover operating expenses, cost of art supplies, and artist scholarships. Everyone wins.

To learn more about Double Vision, V+V and the artists and staff- and to see select portfolios, check out the V+V website.