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The NorCal Chapter of GUAA, during a Gallaudet Club event jointly hosted by Gallaudet University and the chapter in Fremont, California, presented President Roberta J. Cordano a linocut print on March 4, 2016. Cordano was there to visit the chapter event and to watch the West Regional Academic Bowl.

The linocut, titled “The Beacon of Hope,” was designed by David Call, ’86, known for his artwork modeled closely after De’VIA. It is modeled after Cordano’s January 2016 State of the University speech, in which she said Gallaudet was “no longer that ‘little college for the deaf in northeast D.C.’, but rather an internationally-recognized beacon of hope that is producing some of the best research, teaching, learning and community engagement.”

The linocut depicts Cordano holding a birdhouse as the Tower Clock stands in the background with rays of sunshine surrounding it. This represents a beacon of hope, illuminated by Cordano’s smile. In the background, a ladder breaks through a glass ceiling, leading up to a framed sign representing scientific research, symbolizing the breaking of barriers.

Call, who has held a deep passion for art since the age of four, first discovered art as a medium that he could use to communicate with his hearing parents, who then didn’t know sign language.

“I loved getting reactions from my parents when they saw my artwork, so this fueled a lifelong passion for art,” said Call.

He continued to draw throughout his childhood, modeling his drawings after ideas seen in book illustrations.

“When I was seven, I came upon a beautiful, haunting image that affected me deeply,” said Call. “It was Hieronymous Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Paradise. I began drawing a surrealist, dream-like image with Bosch-like creatures in it. After searching for ideas related with Bosch, I came upon The Maze, which I could deeply relate with, given my childhood steeped in audism.”

Call continued to draw, doing independent projects in high school at the California School for the Deaf (Riverside). His art teacher, impressed with his natural artistic talents, encouraged him to explore different art mediums, which led to his love of linocuts.

After 18 years of teaching social studies at the California School for the Deaf (Fremont), Call accepted an art teaching position, where he resumed his love and focus on art, with an emphasis on teaching deaf-centered visual arts and De’VIA, which represents deaf or late-deafened artists who express their culturally unique experiences through art; more specifically, deaf-related experiences.

“My students study many De’VIA artists such as Chuck Baird, E-’72, Susan Dupor, Betty Miller, ’57, and Nancy Rourke, who happen to be my favorites. De’VIA has helped my students to explore their deafhood and share their experiences through art,” said Call. “It was a huge success.”

With the recent linocut given to Cordano by the NorCal Chapter of GUAA, Call sees himself as an emerging De’VIA artist and hopes to pursue it as a full-time career for himself. His various artwork pieces can be seen on his website. “The Beacon of Hope” now hangs in Cordano’s office in College Hall.

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