By Patric Stillman
A unique platform for transformation, Revision San Diego stands as a beacon of creativity and community, dedicated to reshaping lives through art. Founded by visionary Director Joy Boe in 2017, this nonprofit organization transcends traditional boundaries, providing a life changing platform for teenagers and adults with developmental disabilities.
‘ReVisualize the way you live…We believe everything, and everyone has a purpose’ is the powerful core of Revision San Diego’s mission. This commitment goes beyond rhetoric, defining the essence of an organization that pioneers a vision beyond canvas, where art becomes a vehicle for self-discovery and empowerment.
Revision San Diego has evolved into a sanctuary of creativity, fostering inclusivity and purposeful expression. From mentorship programs to community partnerships, the organization’s innovative approach creates an environment where every individual, regardless of ability, can find their unique purpose within the realm of art.
Revision San Diego has two storefronts working with 32 Resident Artists. One in Hillcrest and another newly opened in 2023 in La Mesa.
Joy Boe: Pioneering a Vision
“Art has the power to transcend differences and create connections. Through our initiatives, we are fostering an inclusive community where everyone’s voice is heard.”
Joy Boe is the driving force behind this artistic revolution. Her visionary leadership is not merely about running an art program; it’s about igniting a movement where art supports individuals and helps their clients who have the title of Resident Artists learn how to self-brand by creating their own micro-enterprises.
“We believe in the inherent value of every individual, and through art, we provide a space for self-expression and self-discovery. Revision San Diego is not just an organization; it’s a community where everyone has a purpose within the creative process.”
“I think sometimes people have this overall conception that people with disabilities are the ones that need training, and in my experience, it’s been completely opposite. I’ve learned so much working alongside all the artists, just seeing the way they do things, being inspired by the quality of work that they’re producing.”
Besides receiving instruction and materials on a day-to-day basis to help with projects, Resident Artists develop art-based connections online and through a variety of local gift shops and makers markets.
Chad Berwald: Mentorship Catalyst
“I have witnessed the transformative power of art firsthand. It’s not just about creating something visually pleasing; it’s about the journey of self-discovery that art facilitates.”
Chad Berwald, an Illustrator and Arts Mentor embodies the spirit of Revision San Diego. His role extends beyond teaching techniques. It’s about guiding individuals on a profound artistic journey that often goes beyond the storefront studio.
With a background in illustration and digital illustration, Berwald is actively creating his own body of work. Answering local art calls, he creates pop art paintings while developing partnerships with organizations like Mal Bicho Collective in Barrio Logan and San Diego Pride that also benefit Revision San Diego’s Resident Artists.
“Inclusion is a big thing to me, where everyone feels welcome and a part of the art community. I think that’s what I bring to Revision San Diego, getting not only my art out there but also Revision San Diego’s art out there. It’s important to be a part of the community.”
Berwald’s latest works of art can be found on his website at chadberwald.com.
Deanna Tran: Resident Artist
“I create things based upon my mood or things that I want to do mostly. Some days I might feel like doing a weaving, working with clay, or just sketching. Normally here, everyone has all different projects they are working on. It just depends, and we all have our different interests. It helps me think outside of the box more.”
Deanna Tran, a Resident Artist, wanted to be an artist since she was a child. Her enthusiasm reveals a sense of community at Revision San Diego that is unparalleled.
“I’ve been coming to Revision San Diego since 2019, just making art and hanging out with the other artists. The best thing about coming to Revision San Diego is trying out new things and being with my friends.”
Some of her illustrations have been transferred onto products that are sold at Revision San Diego’s art shop. Tran has an eye for detail creating fantasy-based characters and includes Studio Ghibli’s My Friend Totoro, Tim Burton’s Oogie Boogie and Neil Gaiman’s Coraline as some of her favorite inspirations.
“I created a logo with silhouettes of four guys with the sunlight behind them as they are walking away.” This outstanding logo design was selected in competition to appear on the cans of 4DUDESBrew IPA, a local craft brew from a collaboration between professional brewers at My Yard Live Beer Co and group of friends with disabilities. Her efforts have helped to raise thousands of dollars for local nonprofits through the sales of this West Coast special brew.
Tran’s artwork can be explored on her Resident Artist page online at revisionsandiego.com/deannatran
As Tran’s Art Mentor, Chad Berwald beamed with admiration as he shared, “Today was special to bring in Deanna and have her interviewed, talking about her work. It was really exciting to showcase her because she’s such a strong artist and illustrator. She just took off with it and told her story.”
A New Year Invitation
Through its visionary founder, dedicated arts mentors, and inspired resident artists, Revision San Diego has not only illuminated the diversity of San Diego’s working artists but has become a guiding light for communities living with developmental disabilities seeking to harness the creative spirit for the greater good.
With the New Year, Deanna Tran invites the public to witness the transformative power of creativity. “They should come to see our artwork and come buy artwork too and see us create.”
Joy Boe echoed, “Come, witness the magic, and be a part of shaping a future where creativity knows no bounds.”
The art store at the Hillcrest location is open to the public every Saturday from Noon to 4 PM and by appointment. It is located at 3609 4th Avenue in Hillcrest next to Sister’s Pizza. The public can shop for handmade items, sign up for art workshops, exchange books from the Little Free Library and drop off art supply donations.
Revision San Diego can be found online at revisionsandiego.com and on Instagram at @revision_sandiego.