Patricia Durr


Deaf studies courses and programs often put a heavy emphasis on five main characteristics of Deaf culture: language, behavior/norms, values/beliefs, tradition/heritage and possessions. Within the last category, possessions, the focus is usually on material culture since Deaf culture does not have specific food, clothing, or music associated with its people. Hence things like TTYs, flashing lights, close captions, and interpreters are studied- most of these are access related. Unfortunately a critical component of Deaf cultural possessions-art-is often overlooked or uninvestigated. Betty G. Miller, the first known Deaf American to exhibit art about the Deaf experience, stated, "some Deaf artists feel that visual art can be a "way of life" among Deaf people and a part of Deaf culture in the same manner that music is a way of life among the hearing society. Visual art can enlighten Deaf and hearing observers by presenting experiences reflective of a Deaf person's world view. This, in turn, can strengthen a Deaf observer's sense of identity within the Deaf culture (Miller, 1989:770).

Publication Date



This paper was presented at the 2006 Deaf Studies Today! Conference, Utah Valley University, Orem, UT.

Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Art and Imaging Studies (NTID)


RIT – Main Campus