This month, we asked our guest bloggers to share about the artists or artwork they feel speak to their own personal experiences. MSAA has long celebrated artists in the MS community through our Art Showcase initiative. This year, MSAA is recognizing ten years of beautiful artwork shared with us from members of the MS community!
Started in 2009, the MSAA Art Showcases are comprised of two categories: the MS Ability Art Showcase and the Four Seasons Art Showcase. Artists with a diagnosis of MS are invited each Fall to submit their best oil, watercolor, acrylic or pastel paintings, as well as drawings in ink or pencil. The artwork debuts on MSAA’s website, alongside the artists’ personal stories during MS Awareness Month every March.
The MSAA Art Showcases were formed to offer a creative outlet for the MS community – a place where individuals with MS could feel comfortable sharing their work no matter their ability level. Over the years, the Showcases have also been a source of inspiration for members of the MS community who may have previously thought their diagnosis would hinder their creative abilities.
Below are some examples of the incredible work we’ve received over the years, including some of our favorite quotes from artists. Enjoy!
“Gold Dust Woman” by Shana Stern
“Unable to hold a paintbrush because of my MS, I created my own, unique way of painting – using only my fingers and knuckles. I paint each piece to a single song. Creating something beautiful as I use my fingers to make the paint dance across the canvas, is my way of fighting back against the daily, uncontrollable issues I have. Crouched over canvas, covered in paint, lost in the music – everything disappears. All my pain, frustration and physical issues dissolve into the freedom painting provides me with. I don’t dance on my toes anymore – but with my hands. I no longer need a pen or computer to tell stories – just paints. My art helps me find joy, purpose and the confidence to believe in myself again. I may have MS but MS doesn’t have me.”
“Quiet Night” by Terry Grzeslo
“I am 65 years old and have been participating in MSAA’s Art Showcase since 2010. Over the years, a variety of crafts and hobbies like lettering, detailed baking, and furniture refinishing filled my free time. I’m a believer that satisfaction in one’s accomplishments is of key importance. As I’ve slowed down considerably, attention to my immediate surroundings and nature have provided new learning perspectives. I have found enhanced spiritual connectedness. New learning and artistic endeavors have truly supported my quality of life.”
“Lonely Tree” by Ryan Edmonds
“I started painting as a young adult in 2008. I struggled with insomnia and used painting as a way to pass the long nights. In 2014 I was diagnosed with M.S. My new life changing diagnosis and new symptoms rocked my world as my hobby became unmanageable. Though this was the toughest challenge I have ever faced, I continued to paint struggling through the hand tremors, fatigue and other symptoms. I described this experience to others as teaching myself how to paint twice. It can be so frustrating to know how to do something and your body won’t let you do it. I have learned that art doesn’t need to look perfect as long as you don’t give up, you’re doing it right.”
You can read about all of our MSAA Art Showcase artists with MS through the years and view their work here.