Eric McGehearty has never, with his own eyes, read a book. Yet he graduated from the University of North Texas with a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture in May 2004. As a child, he realized how differently from most people he relates to the written word and to the process of reading. He has used his personal struggle with dyslexia as a source for his engaging and thought-provoking art.
“I approach literature from the perspective of a person who cannot read or who does not have access to written material,” says Eric. “By combining the logic embedded in language with the irrationality of thinking without words, my art work engages questions about how we understand the world.” Eric’s work has been exhibited at the JFK Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC and at the Dallas Museum of Art, as well as at a number of galleries and schools. His “United We Stand” – an outdoor bronze sculpture and window installation commissioned for Fort Worth’s Fire Station #8 – was nationally recognized at the 2007 Public Art Year in Review as one of the 40 best public art projects of the year.
Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D) helped provide the resources that Eric needed to overcome the roadblocks to his education. He found RFB&D when he was struggling to find audio versions of his middle school textbooks. The Library of Congress, which was unable to meet his needs, directed him to RFB&D. “It was a place I could count on for the textbooks I needed…. They gave me independence – I no longer had to count on my dad to read all my books to me.”
In conjunction with his exhibits, Eric is often engaged to speak about the process of making art and about the perseverance, advocacy, and hope that dealing with his disability has taught him. He uses his own work to illustrate and punctuate his presentation, delivering informative, engaging stories about making positive choices when facing life’s difficulties. As a student in college and graduate school, ““RFB&D was a life-saver for me, once I wasn’t living at home. They gave me a way to take control over my own education.”
In addition to his career as a working artist and speaker, Eric has worked as a college professor and as public art coordinator for the City of Dallas. He currently lives in Lewisville, TX with his wife Heather and son Keegan. His art and life as a dyslexic are the subject of the documentary film Access Denied, produced and directed by Leah H. Bell.
Eric now works with RFB&D as a consultant and spokesperson