Melody and Russ Stein are Deaf entrepreneurs, activists and co-founders of Mozzeria, a pizzeria owned and operated by Deaf people.
Nominator: “The Steins were turned down for business loans by a line of banks that didn’t want to take a risk on a pair of unproven deaf business owners. They also had to cope with additional frustrations, such as City inspectors arriving without the sign-language interpreters Melody had requested. … all of the 15 employees are deaf and know ASL. From 2016, their mobile pizza truck has become a regular fixture at outdoor festivals and street food events.”
IMAGE: Two people drawn with bold colors and simple shapes have the word Mozzeria written across their aprons. The background of irregular squares of vibrant colors resembles a patchwork quilt.
Laron Bickerstaff from Creativity Explored creates radiant portraiture and stream-of-consciousness text-based artwork. He uses American Sign Language and is deeply aware of the visual characteristics of language. He mixes his own observations of life with pop-influenced brand names of celebrities, stores, food and drink, and institutions.