TUCSON, Ariz., Sept. 6, 2012 — United Disability Services of Akron, Ohio, will display 20 selections from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Art Collection throughout the rest of the summer and fall. Now in its 20th year, the Collection features artwork by people from across the country who are living with muscular dystrophy and related muscle diseases.
The exhibit can be viewed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at United Disability Services, located at 701 South Main Street in Akron. For additional information, call (330) 762-9755. More details will be available soon about a reception for the community that will be held in early fall to celebrate the exhibition.
The exhibit includes works in oil, watercolor, acrylics, mixed media, digital creations and one piece created out of wire. Many of the artists face great difficulty in creating their art. In particular, two of the artists have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). One woman uses a sensor taped to her forehead to control her computer, which allows her to communicate with her family, as well as to produce amazing artwork. The other artist with ALS blinks his eyes at the computer screen to create unique line drawings. In addition, a young woman with spinal muscular atrophy was in her teens when she completed her piece. In order to do so, she would lie on the kitchen countertop and support her head with her left hand and paint with the right.
“MDA and UDS share the belief that creativity transcends disability,” says Sandy Palmer, Kaleidoscope’s art coordinator. “The caliber of the work included in the Collection is quite impressive. The images are dynamic and the artists’ stories are compelling. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share the Collection with the community.”
The works on display also will be featured in the July issue of Kaleidoscope: Exploring the Experience of Disability Through Literature and the Fine Arts. Kaleidoscope magazine, published by United Disability Services since 1979, provides a worldwide stage for artists and writers with disabilities to showcase their work.
Unique to the field of disability studies, this award-winning publication expresses the diversity of the disability experience from a variety of perspectives including individuals, families, friends, caregivers and health care professionals, among others. The material selected for Kaleidoscope challenges and overcomes stereotypical, patronizing and sentimental attitudes about disability.
“The primary mission of Kaleidoscope is to present the work of artists and writers, and through their work educate people regarding the talents and abilities of artists who happen to have disabilities,” says Gail Willmott, Kaleidoscope editor-in-chief. “The work on display at UDS from the MDA Art Collection powerfully and unquestionably fulfills the mission of Kaleidoscope.”
United Disability Services is a private, not-for-profit human services agency that helps elderly, veterans and people with disabilities live safer and more independently in their own homes. With programs designed to help people with disabilities make the most of their potential, the UDS mission is to enhance the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and their caregivers by providing the highest quality, client-focused programs and services.
For more information, visit udsakron.org.
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.
In addition to funding some 300 research projects worldwide, MDA maintains a national network of 200 medical clinics; facilitates hundreds of support groups for families affected by neuromuscular diseases; and provides local summer camp opportunities for thousands of youngsters living with progressive muscle diseases.
MDA maintains clinics for local children and adults at the Dean Martin Neuromuscular Center in Youngstown and the MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.