Photo courtesy of Mandy Harvey.
Quad City Arts has been an Arts Midwest Touring Fund grantee for many years. Their Visiting Artist Series is a great fit for the Touring Fund, as it provides community residencies by providing 45-minute lectures/performances to local schools and community sites. This year, their funded event was a visit from singer-songwriter Mandy Harvey.
Harvey is a musician with a unique challenge: she lost her hearing at age 18. Despite her deafness, she decided to face her new challenges and continue her music career. She has honed new skills in her 10+ years since her hearing loss, and today she is not only a performer but also an inspiring speaker and teacher.
During her visit to the Quad Cities in October and November, Harvey visited over ten schools and other venues, including a library, church, and a traditional performing arts venue. The Quad Cities include Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Rock Island and Moline in Illinois, but Quad City Arts serves smaller surrounding towns with their residencies, as well.
Mandy Harvey teaches sign language to students at St. Paul the Apostle School in Davenport, IA. Photo courtesy of Quad City Arts.
Harvey’s remarkable story provided a new perspective to many of her audience members, particularly the students at local schools. Tracy Mathews, a teacher at Eisenhower Elementary in Davenport, noted, “Mandy’s performance today was truly inspiring…She was so calm; well-spoken so that all ages could understand what she was saying; she played beautiful songs that touched our hearts and really made an impression on our entire school.”
Harvey performs at Washington Elementary in Moline, IL. She performs barefoot so she can feel the vibrations of the music.
The staff at Quad City Arts agreed that her performances were valuable and powerful. “She has definitely made an impact on our community. I don’t think we’ve had a visiting artist address the issue of both visible and invisible disabilities before, so she was able to uniquely connect to a different group of students,” said Margot Day, Community Engagement Director. Day continued, “She was such a good fit for the Visiting Artist Series. I know that we will talk about ‘the time when Mandy Harvey was in residence’ for a long time to come!”
“I know that we will talk about ‘the time when Mandy Harvey was in residence’ for a long time to come!”
—Margot Day, Quad City Arts