Artists Without Limits gallery exhibit highlights local artists with disabilities
Provides forum for disability issues
The Charles County Commission on Individuals with Disabilities, in conjunction with the Charles County Arts Alliance, honored several local artists with disabilities on Monday during a public reception at the Charles County Government Building.
Participants in the Artists Without Limits gallery received awards and posed for pictures next to their artwork, which was displayed in a hallway of the building on July 12 and will remain up until Sept. 5. The exhibit features 45 pieces of art, ranging from paintings to
photography to poetry.
The gallery represents an opportunity for local artists to share their work, but also provides a platform for disability-related concerns. This is the second year of the event, and the reception always takes place in July to commemorate the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“In Charles County we wanted to celebrate that occasion in a special way,” said Emily Ferren, chairwoman of the Charles County Commission on Individuals with Disabilities. “We wanted to recognize artists, we wanted to recognize quality of life issues, accessibility policy and employment [issues].”
Ferren presented an award to every artist in attendance, and also offered verbal recognition to those assisted with the artwork. Artists were granted a pair of entries this year after being limited to one for the inaugural gallery, and Ferren said she received a steady stream of submissions right up until the June 30 deadline.
Entrants from Charles County Freedom Landing, an organization assisting adults with emotional disorders, decided to accept their award as a group. The artists worked on projects together with the help of Freedom Landing staff, including a set of three wildlife photos transferred onto wood cutouts.
“It’s a nice way for them to express themselves and have something concrete [to look at],” said Freedom Landing Executive Director Joyce Abramson.
Spring Dell Center boasted a large contingent of artists, although many were unable to attend the reception. Clients from the organization, dedicated to assist people with disabilities, painted city landscapes, birds and multi-color abstract pieces.
“We had a wonderful group of talented folks,” said Donna Retzlaff, executive director of the center. “They would start with a picture and then let their imagination go and create their own individualized piece. We have a lot of talent, a lot of hidden talent.”
Ferren told the audience there will be a separate reception at the center for those who couldn’t make it on Monday. She is hoping for an increase in participation next year and encouraged Charles County residents to check out the gallery.
Chairwoman of the Charles County Commission on Individuals with Disabilities Emily Ferren, left, honors the group of artists from Charles County Freedom Landing.
Three photos transferred to wood cutouts created by Charles County Freedom Landing residents.
Above left, an untitled entry from Joan Harper of the Spring Dell Center. Above right, “Celebration” by Jayla Green of the Spring Dell Center.