RALEIGH, NC – Non-profit group Arts Access North Carolina will host a grand opening of its new art gallery in downtown Raleigh that will exhibit and sell works by artists with disabilities on March 1 (coinciding with Downtown Raleigh’s First Friday! Click to learn about other artists presenting this month and to plan your itinerary).

Contemporary artist Jean Gray Mohs, who focuses primarily on painting and sculpture, will be the first artist to display her work – a collection of dimensional acrylic paintings on wood – at the Arts Access Gallery. The Woven Strangers collection will be on display from March 1 through May 18 at 444 S. Blount Street, Suite 115B in Raleigh. 

Woven Strangers exhibition graphic

Woven Strangers exhibition graphic

Mohs, a North Carolina native who had a double lung transplant, often contrasts materials like maple plywood and waxed thread in her pieces which reflect the interplay of strength and fragility in the face of her chronic illness. 

“I’m honored to showcase Woven Strangers at Arts Access, a beacon at the crossroads of arts, education, and disability. My pieces celebrate the beauty, delicate balance, and incredible resilience embodied in the journey of living with chronic illness and past disability.” 

Over her career, Mohs has presented her work in more than 20 solo shows, participated in 91 group exhibitions, and contributed to 24 museum and university exhibitions. Her art has graced prestigious venues, including the Contemporary Art Museum, Artspace, and Peel Gallery. 

At the grand opening on March 1, visitors will get a chance to see the 13-piece collection and meet Mohs. 

Jean Gray’s work is at once dynamic and contemplative, balanced and asymmetrical; reflecting her journey through chronic illness and past disability. Viewers will find her work evocative and resonant,” said Michelle Davis Petelinz, Board President. 

Woman nailing fabric to a gallery wall

Jean Gray installing one of her works in the new gallery

The gallery marks a new chapter for Arts Access North Carolina, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The new space shifts Arts Access from an organization that most people know as a partner that helps other arts organizations improve accessibility through audio descriptions, on-site assessments, and training to one that is also promoting inclusivity through this new immersive gallery experience.

“The exhibitions we have scheduled for this year showcase incredible artists from North Carolina and around the country. The Arts Access Gallery is the only one in this region programming exclusively for disabled artists,” said Executive Director Eileen Bagnall. 

The gallery will host four shows throughout 2024. In addition to the spring gallery opening exhibition, there will be a show in summer, fall and winter. For more information about the gallery visit https://artsaccessinc.org/arts-access-gallery/.

About Arts Access North Carolina 

Founded in 1984, and celebrating its 40th anniversary, Arts Access North Carolina is a non-profit dedicated to creating a positive impact at the intersection of arts, education, and disability. Our vision is to have communities in which the arts are universally accessible.

Arts Access Gallery Opening Exhibition: WOVEN STRANGERS

The Arts Learning Community for Universal Access with Raleigh Arts

CVNC Executive Director Andrea McKerlie Luke, along with a cohort of cultural arts workers from several Raleigh-based organizations, are participating in a year-long learning community through Raleigh Arts, led by S.A. Corrin. The group began the year with the shared experience of attending the Kennedy Center‘s Leadership Exchange in Arts & Disability (LEAD) Conference in Chicago in August of 2023. In addition to attending classes and events at the conference, our members have been gathering in monthly sessions to help each other in both individual and group accessibility projects, as well as learning what it means to become accessibility assets within their organizations and the larger Raleigh community.

13 people sitting and standing around a table

Members of the Learning Community meeting with Betty Siegel, Director of the Office of Accessibility and VSA for the Kennedy Center

logos of participating organizations

13 participants in the Learning Community represent 11 organizations: Artspace, City of Raleigh’s Historic Resources & Museums, CVNC, El Pueblo, Inc., Marbles Kids Museum, North Carolina Arts Council, North Carolina Museum of Art, North Carolina Chamber Music Institute – NCCMI, The North Carolina Theatre, Theatre In The Park, Triangle Youth Music












Andrea’s individual project for CVNC includes creating and publishing an Accessibility Statement (which will be available on our About > CVNC page in the early spring), and CVNC leadership has already begun incorporating elements of universal access into its operations. The new website platform complies with World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, and leadership staff are being trained on using image descriptions and alt text both on the website and social media.

Members of the Arts Learning Community for Universal Access 2024 cohort will be gathering at the March 1st Woven Strangers opening reception on March 1st to help Arts Access celebrate, but also to discuss our ongoing accessibility work. To learn more about Raleigh Arts Commission’s Arts Learning Community for Universal Access, please come speak to us or visit https://raleighnc.gov/arts/services/universal-access-arts/arts-learning-community-universal-access.