Blindness hasn’t kept local artist from inspiring

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published November 7, 2012

 Harrison Township resident Darold Gholston’s work will be featured in an upcoming art exhibit at the Carr Center in Detroit. The exhibit, titled “True Inspiration,” will run from Nov. 8 through Jan. 6, 2013.

Harrison Township resident Darold Gholston’s work will be featured in an upcoming art exhibit at the Carr Center in Detroit. The exhibit, titled “True Inspiration,” will run from Nov. 8 through Jan. 6, 2013.

Photo by Donna Agusti

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Local painter Darold Gholston lost his sight in 2009 after being struck between the eyes with a baseball.

The accident occurred during a game at Cairn’s Community Center in Mount Clemens, where Gholston worked as a director.

The impacts of the ball shattered his eye sockets, broke his nose, caused his sinus cavity to collapse and severely damaged the nerves in both eyes.

“I’m lucky to be alive,” said the 53-year-old former Mount Clemens High School track coach. “I’m lucky I can still create art.”

Despite the fact that the accident left him totally without sight in his left eye and 10 percent vision in his right, Gholston is still creating art that both mesmerizes and inspires.

For more than 30 years, Gholston has awed spectators with original and recreated drawings and paintings bursting with color and character. His work has been featured in exhibitions in Detroit and New York City, and they have been commissioned by several private businesses as well as cultural and educational institutions, including Greater Grace Temple, St. Martin DePorres High School and the Cotillion Club in Detroit. He was also well-known for creating some of the ground murals, including Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” when he was commissioned by the Detroit Festival of the Arts.

And from Nov. 8 through Jan. 6, 2013, Gholston will be one of two metro Detroit artists featured during the Carr Center’s “True Inspiration: Works of Darold Gholston and Hubert Massey” exhibit.

“This is a real honor,” Gholston said of the exhibit. “My work has changed, but I’m still getting a lot of positive feedback on my work.”

Gholston now creates his pieces of abstract symbolism and figurative art works with help from increased lighting, special eyeglasses and a magnifying glass.

And finishing a specific work of art takes a lot more time.

“I also have an assistant there to make sure I’m staying in line,” he said with a laugh.

Gholston has been painting since grammar school and was even invited to join programs at the Detroit Institute of Arts, but he was unable to take advantage of it because his father didn’t approve.

“My dad wasn’t really into the arts,” he said. “He said artists didn’t make any money.”

But Gholston persevered and honed his skills over the years. He went on to attend the University of Michigan, where he holds a Bachelor of Science, and he later attended the Cincinnati School of Design, where he excelled in graphic arts.

In addition to his work as a visual artist, Gholston is an accomplished musician, producer and writer. In 2012, he founded Learning Seeds, a nonprofit organization that develops character and artistic talent in youth.

As part of their commitment to the community, Gholston and Massey of Detroit will facilitate free workshops for middle and high school students to help them explore their creativity through art. The True Inspiration Workshops will be held through November and December.

The Carr Center is located at 311 E. Grand River in Detroit. An opening reception is scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 8. The public is invited to meet the artists and learn the inspiration behind their works. The reception includes live music, hors d’oeuvres and a meet-and-greet with the artists.

“My best work has been those that inspire and show some kind of symbolism, and like my painting of a man in the water with his head just above, to always keep your chin up no matter what happens,” said Gholston, who’s other inspirational portraits have included those of former Detroit Lion Barry Sanders, boxer Jack Johnson and retired Detroit Red Wing Steve Yzerman. “And that’s how I am with myself. I can’t see, but it won’t keep me from creating inspirational art.”

For more information about the True Inspiration exhibit, go to or call (313) 965-8430.