TUCSON, Ariz. — Two paintings by teenage artist Caroline Pennell of Chesterfield, Va., have been accepted into the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Art Collection. Now in its 18th year, the Collection features artwork by people from across the country with muscular dystrophy and related diseases.
Challenges We Don't Face
Pennell’s paintings — an acrylic and an oil-pastel on panel boards titled “Challenges We Don’t Face” and “Pawley’s Island” — both depict seascapes. The artist’s love of the outdoors comes across in her merger of beach, greenery and sea.
Pennell, 14, has limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, a genetic disease that causes weakness and atrophy of the muscles around the shoulders and hips. She is ambulatory but sometimes uses a power wheelchair for mobility.
A freshman at Matoaca High School in Chesterfield, Pennell is active in MDA events and community activities. She was instrumental in the design of JT’s Grommet Island Beach Park and Playground for EveryBODY, a fully accessible Virginia Beach park and playground. In 2007, one of her paintings was awarded best of show in the local Art Adventures exhibition.
“We’re deeply honored to welcome Caroline Pennell’s works into the permanent MDA Art Collection,” MDA President & CEO Gerald Weinberg said. “Her contributions to our Collection undoubtedly will delight all who see them as they travel to galleries and museums as part of the Collection’s special exhibits.”
The new additions by Pennell are 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 comprises more than 370 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.