Ceramics artist of color who is visually impaired highlights women's contributions in new exhibit

For more than 25 years, Donna Ray has turned pieces of clay into works of art. But for her second solo show ever, she wants to mold people's perspectives on women's place in society around the world.

"To have the residency and to be able to curate and put your show together, that is a dream come true," said Ray.

Ray says it took 6 months for her to produce 48 ceramic pieces for her new exhibit called Women's Equity and Gender Fluidity at the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery.

Her goal is to highlight the contributions of women in education, land ownership, and agriculture using art. 

"My thing was to make sure that I incorporated all the things that were important to me as an artist and that I wanted the use of this and the future generations to understand that we all are part of Mother Earth, which is gender fluid," said Ray.

Among the items on display, three goddesses that represent Africa, Asia and the Americas, large ceramic spoons and word puzzles on ceramic tiles that ultimately reveal how everything ties together.

Ray says clay is her favorite medium because she was born blind and expressing herself through the natural soil gives her a tangible way to explore the world around her.

"It's all about the feel. It's all about the touch. It's about what is in your head," said Ray.

Ray hopes her creations help visitors see women in a different light and make people with disabilities, especially women of color, more visible in the art world.

"There's room for all of us. There's room for everybody, and there's no one size fits all," said Ray.