January 23, 2003
Artists with disabilities encouraged to participate in 15th annual Goodwill Art Show
By Collin Johnson
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.—Methodist Rehabilitation Center, Goodwill Industries and VSA Artists of Mississippi are encouraging artists with disabilities to participate in the 15th annual Goodwill Art Show at the Jackson hospital.
During the week of April 7-11, artists from Mississippi and nearby states are encouraged to bring their work to Methodist Rehab where it will hang until judging on April 22.
“This is one of our favorite times of year,” said Sandra Walker, director of volunteer services at Methodist Rehab. “As soon as the art starts coming in, we cover every bit of wall on our second floor from our cafeteria to our Atrium Mall with beautiful artwork. But it’s the artists who create that work that represent what we all do here. It’s special.”
Each year, the contest attracts hundreds who compete for the $1,000 first place award. Winners in the student category divvy from a purse of $250.
Since it’s beginning in 1988, the Goodwill contest has grown every year. In just the last five years, the average number of entrants has vaulted to more than 200.
Walker hopes to see more this year. “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.”
Many entrants are former patients at Methodist Rehab who have found a talent they didn’t know existed. But starting this year, through a grant from VSA Artists of Mississippi, trained artists will teach weekly classes to patients at the hospital. That could mean even more entrants into this year’s contest.
“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.
Even when the contest isn’t going on, the works of disabled artists hang in Methodist Rehab’s art gallery in its gift shop.
“It’s a cause we feel strongly about,” said Terri McKie, manager of the gift shop and art gallery. “It’s important for people to see and understand that just because you’re injured in some ways doesn’t mean you’re not capable of creating beauty.”