Society has, in general, underestimated the capabilities of people with disabilities. For decades, most of some 54,000,000 Americans with disabilities too often have been viewed as incapable of working, caring for themselves, or making contributions to their families and communities.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association Art Collection was established in 1992 to show that physical disability is no barrier to creativity and to broaden public knowledge of the achievements of individuals with disabilities. The Collection, on permanent display at MDA National Headquarters in Tucson, Ariz., comprises some 300 original works by adults and children who have any of the neuromuscular disorders in MDA's program. Artists represent all 50 states and range in age from 2 to 82. The Collection features a varied artistic media, from computer designs to collages, as well as traditional oils, watercolors, acrylics, pen and ink, pastels, bronzes, ceramics, and photography. Subject matter ranges from self-portraits to landscapes and from still lifes to outer space fantasies.
The Collection proves that the arts can help build bridges of understanding and acceptance. In this environment of positive change, a vital message is being sent--physical disability does not diminish creativity.
The exhibition, "Transcending Barriers: Selections from the MDA Art Collection," on view at The Sheldon Art Galleries, St. Louis, Mo., through Feb. 4, features 36...