Artists Without Lim­its gallery ex­hibit high­lights lo­cal artists with dis­abil­i­ties

Pro­vides fo­rum for dis­abil­ity is­sues

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By CHAR­LIE WRIGHT cwright@somd­news.com

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.

STAFF PHOTO BY CHAR­LIE WRIGHT

Chair­woman of the Charles County Com­mis­sion on In­di­vid­u­als with Dis­abil­i­ties Emily Fer­ren, left, hon­ors the group of artists from Charles County Free­dom Land­ing.

STAFF PHOTO BY CHAR­LIE WRIGHT

Three pho­tos trans­ferred to wood cutouts cre­ated by Charles County Free­dom Land­ing res­i­dents.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY CHAR­LIE WRIGHT

Above left, an un­ti­tled en­try from Joan Harper of the Spring Dell Cen­ter. Above right, “Cel­e­bra­tion” by Jayla Green of the Spring Dell Cen­ter.

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