FLORISSANT – For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, visual communication is essential.

At the Deaf Visual Arts Festival at St. Louis Community College’s Florissant Valley Campus Saturday, artists from across that community presented their works. Many of the works featured themes iconic to the community, such as various portrayals of American Sign Language symbols. One artist, Angela Botz, hails from Pontoon Beach and works across the Riverbend to bring advocacy and accessibility through Alton-based IMPACT-CIL. Her art was on display Saturday as well. She gave a presentation and featured a work she did in which she arranged hearing aid batteries around a depiction of an ear. She said she wanted to bring awareness to some of the difficulties – and expenses – of being deaf or hard of hearing.

“They were expired hearing aid batteries donated to me by the Red Cross,” Botz said through the help of a sign language interpreter. “It represents people with hearing loss. I wanted to show that battery is a lifeline for many people. It makes me think of how many batteries used throughout someone’s life.”

Botz has a cochlear implant, which she said has helped her for more than 15 years, but other folks with hearing loss still do utilize hearing aids. She said some even sleep with them active for a sense of security. Some others wish they could, but do not, due to the expense of new batteries. Botz said the duration of batteries depends on the users, but said people often have to switch batteries every five days.