Almost every day, a new initiative to build awareness of people with disabilities like muscular dystrophy comes front and center to promote their abilities while downplaying their physical challenges.
Yes, people with disabilities face and overcome obstacles every day, but their disability does not and should not define them. New programs to help those without disabilities get over their fear and discomfort in approaching people with disabilities are long overdue and gaining traction worldwide.
What we sometimes forget, however, is that there are amazing programs out there which have been in existence for a long time. One such program is the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) art collection.
The spectacular MDA collection was established more than 20 years ago 1992, and its main focus is to draw attention to the accomplishments of artists with disabilities, particularly muscular dystrophy, and to demonstrate that physical disabilities do not form effective barriers to artistic endeavors. All the artwork in this article was crafted by people with disabilities.
The collection is permanently housed at the MDA national headquarters in Tuscon, AZ, and has 400 holdings, all original works created by those with any of the neuromuscular disorders that are represented by the MDA program.
There are representatives in the collection from all fifty states, as well as Washington, DC and Puerto Rico, and showcases artwork created by individuals ranging in age from toddlers to 80+. It represents one of the most diverse collections of art in the entire country, a testament to the diversity of the artists involved.
The Collection isn’t just traditional paintings, either; there are digital designs, food collages, paintings created using wheelchairs and feet instead of brushes, in media that includes photography, oil, ink, pastel, crayon, bronze, woodworking, and ceramics. Whether your taste is still life, science fiction, or fantasy, you’ll find something that evokes an emotional response.
There’s a unique culture surrounding disability, distinctly represented by the MDA art collection. These artworks are a vehicle for this culture and allow strong communication of the day-to-day trials faced by those with various neuromuscular diseases.
Special exhibits from the collection are on a regular rotation, usually featuring from 20 to 40 different works, and they are on display anywhere from four to eight weeks at a time. Exhibits are put together and arranged by the museum’s curator and can be temporarily housed anywhere in the nation.
MDA exhibits have been seen at the Dallas Museum of Art, the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Children’s Museum, the Henry Ford Centennial Library in Dearborn, MI, and at the Capital Children’s Museum in Washington, D.C., as well as other major museums and libraries throughout the country.
Watch the video to see the absolutely incredible artwork in the collection and how it was created. Simply stunning! If you’ve produced artwork you’d like to share with the world, send your story and a photo of your work to firstname.lastname@example.org.