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Art by the disABLED to be featured at Phillips Art Gallery

By Staff | May 4, 2016

“In the Round” by disABLED artist Patti Davis. PHOTO PROVIDED

A reception for a nationwide movement that links expressive art with healing art is coming to Sanibel this Friday to display works by artists who are affiliated with “Art by the disABLED.”

An artist reception will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Friday, May 6, in the BIG ARTS Phillips Art Gallery, 900 Dunlop Road. “Art by the disABLED” will be on display from Monday, May 2, through Friday, May 27. The exhibit will feature as many as 20 artists, each having at least two pieces on display.

“This is our first time at BIG ARTS,” Lee Memorial Health System’s Art in Healthcare Program Coordinator Doug MacGregor said.

He encourages disabled artists on the island to attend the reception and find out more about the program, so they could become one of the artist in the program.

The Art by the disABLED program began more than 10 years ago as a way to feature artwork of those disabled. The artwork has been displayed at such places as the annual ArtFest in Downtown Fort Myers, Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Alliance for the Arts and FineMark.

“We have six galleries within the Lee Memorial Health System. We have a gallery at every hospital,” he said about rotating the artwork every two months.

In addition to the hospitals, the artwork is also displayed at the rehabilitation facility on College Parkway in Fort Myers, as well as the cardiovascular building on Bass Road right across from HealthPark. The artwork is displayed in gathering areas, such as waiting rooms, and rooms where procedures take place.

“We sell the work,” MacGregor said. “People like to purchase it. We sell quite a few pieces during the year.”

The artists receives 60 percent of the profit from the sale and 40 percent goes directly back into the program. The program is funded by donations and is supported by more than 75 volunteers.

There are about 15 to 20 artists featured on a regular basis through the program.

“We have had some wonderful experiences with our artists,” MacGregor said.

He said the artists’ disabilities range from being challenged like legally blind, having mental and physical disabilities and those who have autism.

The program, he said, works with the Special Population folks in Cape Coral and the Lighthouse Center in North Fort Myers. He said the center has painting programs twice a week where folks learn how to paint.

“We take quite a bit of their work to display and sell,” MacGregor said.

The program also does a calendar contest each year where artists submit one piece of work. The artwork goes through a judging process before 12 of the top pieces are chosen for the 12-month calendar.

“That’s a pretty big deal for the artists themselves,” he said. “We will do that again for 2017.”

For more information about the program, call MacGregor at (239) 343-2633, or email art@leememorial.org.