United Disability Services has art exhibit for MDA works

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United Disability Services, publisher of Kaleidoscope Magazine, is hosting an art reception displaying a selection of pieces from the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Art Collection on Feb. 14 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the agency's 701 S. Main St. location in Akron.

UDS has been publishing Kaleidoscope, an award-winning literary and fine arts magazine that has been providing a worldwide stage showcasing the talents of artists and writers with disabilities since 1979.

The MDA Art collection was established in 1992 to focus on the achievements of artists with disabilities and now boasts nearly 400 pieces created by artists ranging in age from 2 to 84, from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. To date, pieces from the collection have been in nearly 100 exhibits in museums, galleries, libraries, airports and other exhibit space in more than 60 cities across the country. Both organizations share the belief that creativity transcends disability

Two of the 14 artists whose work is represented in this exhibit include George Johnson, an accomplished artist who sold his artwork in several states. He designed and manufactured a device to support his painting materials, which allowed him to continue painting as his amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) progressed. He received the MDA State Personal Achievement Award for West Virginia in 1999. Johnson, who passed away in 2003, left a lasting legacy on canvas.

L. Dwain Smith, of Paducah, Ky., began working as a construction boilermaker when he was 19 years old. He also became a goldsmith and silversmith, expressing his creativity by crafting jewelry. When late-onset Limbgirdle muscular dystrophy robbed him of his finger strength at age 40, he began painting to find a new way to communicate his creativity.

The general public is invited to enjoy 20 works from this Collection as well as additional pieces that are part of the permanent art collection of UDS. There will also be refreshments and a chance to win a print of two of the pieces featured in the show.

Admission and parking are free.

For details, call 330-762-9755.

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