By Maria Sammartino
Art has always been a part of my life and who I am. Growing up we didn’t have the luxury of “just watching TV.” My grandparents were both artists and made sure when we were with them, we either had a pen, crayon, paint, knitting needles, or crochet hook in our hands. Thankfully for us, they made sure our hands were always busy and we were creating something.
My grandmother was in a horrible accident and had her arm cut off by a trolley car when she was six years old, so that could be one of the reasons that she made sure her hand was always busy. My grandmother was the epitome of persistence. When she would go to buy gloves, she would say to the person behind the counter, “Why do I have to buy two? I only need one!!!”
So, in 2009 when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I knew immediately what I had to do. I had to get back to art. I was no longer able to work as an Ophthalmic Technician, and it had been years since I created something of importance to me. So now was the time. I find that when you set your mind to doing something positive, positive results will follow. That positivity led me to MSAA’s Art Showcase. I was truly amazed at the incredible art they had posted by people living everyday with multiple sclerosis. Just like me and my grandmother, these are the people that persisted.
It’s important for me, as an artist and a person living with multiple sclerosis to have my art seen. Finding the MSAA Art Showcase online was a blessing for me. I don’t know if I had not been diagnosed with MS that I would have gotten back to my abstract expressionism in time for me to be seen.
Being the 2020 Mission Honoree of MSAA’s 50th Anniversary Virtual Night at the Barnes Foundation is truly an honor. MSAA has been improving lives since 1970, and they aren’t slowing down. If you have MS and upon diagnosis you go looking for info and help on the web, you will find an invaluable source on their website.
And if you have MS and you are an artist, and have been putting your artwork on hold, now is the time of get back to it. I hope if you find this blog post that I can inspire you to pick up that brush, pen, pencil, knitting needles or whatever your source of creativity is, and get to it. I can assure you my fellow MS warriors, feeding your creative self is your super power!
Please join me on October 20, 2020 from 5:00-6:00 PM Eastern for a Virtual Night at the Barnes Foundation. Support for this event provides free programs and services for the MS community. To grab tickets, please visit: support.mymsaa.org/barnes2020.