Paralyzed artist Jeremy Vangsnes holds art show at SMC
SMC alum Jeremy Vangsnes will host an art show along with his family in Ellis Hall on SMC’s campus. A reception will be held April 3 from 3:30 – 5 p.m., and the gallery will be open April 7 from 10 am – noon. Both events are free and open to the public.
While attending SMC, Vangsnes was captain of the cross-country team, and was named player of the year for Region X of the National Junior College Athletic Association. Shortly after graduating, Vangsnes was traveling near Bozeman, Montana with two of his brothers and a friend when they were involved in a serious car accident. Vangsnes was nearly killed but was kept alive by a first responder that was traveling along the interstate. He was left with a traumatic brain injury and almost full paralysis.
Vangsnes became responsive a few months after the incident, particularly by shaking his left leg, and in 2011 his sister noticed that he could communicate by shaking his leg to a corresponding letter of the alphabet. Because his left leg has the most mobility, he uses it to paint with a harness attached to his foot.
“At SMC, the mission of our gallery space is to cause our busy and hardworking community to stop and see differently, even if for a moment,” says Kris Neely, professor of art at SMC and organizer of the art show. “We want our students, staff, and faculty to pause and appreciate something powerfully beautiful. That is achieved by featuring art that is authentic and rooted in our reality. Jeremy Vangsnes has that authentic voice that speaks powerfully to the unquenchable desire to extract hope and joy from even the most bleak circumstances.”