TUCSON, Ariz. – A drawing by Abbey Umali of Redlands, Calif., has been accepted into the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Art Collection. Now in its 19th year, the Collection features artwork by people from across the country with muscular dystrophy and related diseases.
Freedom, Fun and Friendship
Abbey is currently serving an unprecedented fourth term as MDA’s National Goodwill Ambassador. Over the past three years, she and her parents Joel and Wendi have made dozens of trips to American cities where Abbey has spoken at MDA fundraising events about MDA’s battle against muscular dystrophy. They are also audience favorites at the MDA Labor Day Telethon.
Her drawing, titled “Freedom, Fun and Friendship,” is done in colored pencil and depicts the American flag, the Capitol dome in Washington, D.C., and two young people — one in leg braces, another in a wheelchair — who have neuromuscular diseases.
The young artist conceived the idea before making a trip to Washington, D.C., in May 2010, as she anticipated meeting and thanking some of the nation’s top legislators for supporting MDA.
Abbey, an 11-year-old top student who attends a Montessori school, has a form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) that causes muscle weakness, lack of coordination, and loss of sensation in the upper and lower extremities. She walks with the help of leg braces.
When not making appearances for MDA, Abbey enjoys swimming, bike riding, dancing, reading, singing, acting and knitting. She also likes puzzles, games, animals and spending time with her family. When Abbey grows up, she hopes to become a veterinarian or work for MDA.
"We’re deeply honored to welcome Abbey Umali’s work into the permanent MDA Art Collection,” MDA President & CEO Gerald Weinberg said. “Her contribution to our Collection undoubtedly will delight all who see it as it travels to galleries and museums as part of the Collection’s special exhibits.”
The new addition by Umali is on display at MDA’s national headquarters in Tucson, Ariz., and can be seen at www.mda.org/about/community-programs/art-collection.
The Collection was established in 1992 to focus attention on the achievements of artists with disabilities and to emphasize that physical disability is no barrier to creativity.
The Collection now comprises more than 375 works by artists ages 2 to 82, representing all 50 states. Each artist is affected by one of the more than 40 diseases in MDA’s program.
Selected art from the Collection has been exhibited at the Dallas Museum of Art; Cork Gallery at Lincoln Center and the Forbes Collection in New York; Chicago Public Library; Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art; Los Angeles Children’s Museum; Capital Children’s Museum, Washington; and many other sites.
MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education.