Jo Ann Briseño is a multimedia artist, an entrepreneur, and the mother to and ardent advocate for a child with special needs.
Art has been an integral part of Jo Ann’s life since she was fourteen years old, when she discovered photography and completely fell in love with it. Since then, she has added illustration and painting to her preferred media.
Parenting Maya, her lovely and talented daughter who happens to have Down syndrome, has reinforced Jo Ann’s philosophy that beauty and fulfillment are to be sought in each moment and that being present and positive, no matter what abilities a person has, leads to richness in life.
“As an artist, I challenge myself to produce work that is thought-provoking. I also believe that art can bring awareness as well as happiness to the viewer,” Briseño says.
A primary reason for developing her recent projects is to share Maya’s life with the world. “I believe sharing Maya’s accomplishments and adventures will speak to others and hopefully open their eyes to seeing her as a genuine person who wants to interact with society and have a happy, meaningful life. People look at Maya differently simply because they don’t know how to approach her, but if they learn that she, as with all children who have special needs, feels the same emotions they do, they can accept her differences while appreciating what we all have in common.”
Briseño’s goal is to break down the social barriers that keep special needs children from being fully accepted in society by sharing Maya’s stories so that others can see she’s just a girl who wants to be included and loved, just as we all do. The artist’s work is deeply rooted in bringing people together and creating connections.