March 15, 2004
Artists with disabilities encouraged to participate in annual Goodwill Art Show
By Lisa Uzzle Gates
Health and Research News Service
SIMPSON COUNTY, Miss.—It has been a struggle, but almost nine years later, Joan B. Vaughn is able to laugh heartily at the irony of it all.
In 1995, a painting she entered in the Goodwill Art Show at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson won first place. The only requirement of the show is that the artists, ranging from professionals to elementary-age students, have some sort of disability. Vaughn had been battling spine problems most of her adult life, and after six spinal surgeries she certainly qualified to enter the show. But as she spoke at the awards banquet, she had no idea what was to come.
“I was standing there talking about what a fine place Methodist is and what good work they do. I had no idea that before the year was out, they would be unloading me out front,” she said, laughing. The Simpson County resident suffered a stroke and spent more than a month rehabbing at Methodist.
The right-handed artist was paralyzed on that side when she arrived at the hospital, but she made a remarkable comeback. She attributes her success to the care she received and the resilience that she inherited from her father, who lost his arm in a farming accident when she was a girl.
Vaughn is one of the artists whose work will be on display in the 16th Annual Goodwill Art Show, which runs through May 10 at Methodist Rehabilitation Center on Woodrow Wilson Drive in Jackson.
The show, a joint venture of Goodwill Volunteer Services, Methodist and VSA Arts of Mississippi, started in 1988 with the goal of inspiring the disabled to consider the arts and to encourage those who were already involved in the arts.
“This gives artists with disabilities a chance to showcase and sell their art,” said Sandra Walker, volunteer services director at Methodist. “We do not charge a commission; all of the money goes to the artist.”
Many entrants are former patients at Methodist who discovered their artistic talent after a disabling injury changed their lives. “So many of our entrants didn’t know about their talent until after their injury and even then, many found out by accident,” she said. “We hope this contest inspires others out there to paint, draw and create.”
In conjunction with the show, a grant from VSA Artists of Mississippi brings professional artists into the hospital for a total of 10 weeks to teach art classes to Methodist patients.
“We hope that trained artists coming into the hospital will be able to stimulate more response from patients and get them to enter their work in the Goodwill contest,” said Leslie Scott, State Program Coordinator of VSA Arts of Mississippi.
Paintings and other pieces of art will be available for purchase through a silent auction that begins after the awards ceremony at 2 p.m. on April 4. Bids will be accepted through 4 p.m. May 4. Auction sheets will be located in the gift shop on the second floor of the Atrium Mall. The price listed on the work is the opening bid. Purchasers may pick up artwork May 5 through 7.
Artwork is divided into one of four categories—professional with a top prize of $1,000, non-professional with a top prize of $500, elementary students with a top prize of $50 and junior high and high school students with a top prize of $50.