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Hemorrhages, blunt-force trauma and bullet wounds don’t exactly scream “art.” But in a new exhibit, the National Museum of Health and Medicine is honoring men and women who survived such traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
The temporary exhibit — titled “Whack’ed . . .
and then everything was different” — expands on the museum’s standing
TBI installation, which showcases human brain specimens as well as
medical tools used for surgery, treatment and rehabilitation. Artist and
TBI survivor Eliette Markhbein created the larger-than-life portrait
series to raise awareness of TBIs.
Donni Cee always liked to draw. But for most of his life, he hid his
talent from the people around him. "When they encountered me it sort
of surprised them... they were not used to somebody who wanted to
embrace their inner child, somebody who wanted to enjoy their life, so
as a result I was mocked and ridiculed," said Cee.
But three years ago Peckham's "Art at Work" program
changed all of that. Donni began taking art classes while at work,
honing his skills and openly exercising his imagination. Donni's drawing
is one of 100 works of art that now hang proudly in the Peckham work
"Just as important as looking at the wall... seeing them
look at their own artwork and their own pieces on the wall was nothing
short of incredible," said Sue McGuire, the Peckham Art Program
"I thought I was just a retarded idiot that was destined to push a mop
and be mocked, ridiculed. So when art from the heart actually revealed
itself in the sneak peak that a lot of the artists such as myself went
to, me and Dominique Johnson, another client artist, we were in tears.
We were not used to people doing that for us. "
Through The Arc of Jacksonville, an organization that helps people
with physical and mental challenges, Melanie Coughlin volunteers to
paint for people weekly. Those who ask her to paint for them don’t have
to pay anything. They just need to contact The Arc and make an
At the Haskell Building downtown, dozens gathered with wine and
shrimp and checkbooks to buy some of the art for the seventh annual
Artistic Realization Technologies exhibition. Mayor Alvin Brown said
he’d already seen one of Adam Coughlin’s paintings at City Hall.
Preston Haskell, of the Haskell Co. and namesake of the building,
said he’d already bought two paintings by 6:30 p.m., only a half-hour
into the event.
The art varied considerably. Coughlin’s paintings consisted mostly of
geometric shapes. A giant blue ball with a red line going through it on
top of a pale yellow background. A darker blue triangle that looks like
a javelin soars above it.
Millersville University is engaging new audiences in the performing arts, with a goal of increasing accessibility for all.
university — which recently received a $23,500 grant through a
partnership of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters and the
MetLife Foundation — is developing projects that go beyond conventional
The university was one of six
grantees selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 60
applicants that proposed cutting-edge plans to increase local community
participation in the arts.
Funds from the grant will benefit the
university's Tear Down This Wall initiative, a multifaceted disability
arts program that includes a mixture of professional art, participatory
arts opportunities and art education.
To that end, the university
on Monday hosted a community forum — titled Disability and The Arts —
designed to bring together artists, advocates and community organizers
to envision how to effectively incorporate people with disabilities into
public arts and humanities programs.
Tyler Bell is a perfect example. Tyler is a 20-year-old accomplished
artist from central New Jersey, and an engaged member of his local
community. At a young age, Tyler started showing an interest in
identifying and mixing colors, which in turn developed into a love of
watercolors. By middle school, painting had become one of his preferred
free time choices and his paintings papered the walls of his classroom.
It was after a person-centered planning
session in high school that his team pushed for more structured
painting time as a possible job or leisure skill exploration. Tyler’s
parents found a local artist who was willing to paint with him. He
quickly began to love heading into a studio and painting with an
instructor who soon became both a mentor and a friend.
Today, Tyler’s paintings cover more than just the walls of the Bell’s
home in New Jersey. Many of Tyler's paintings hang in various retail and
restaurant establishments within their community. Recently, three
paintings sold off the walls of a local restaurant, and another was sold
to an Autism Speaks volunteer who saw the beautiful paintings online.
Tyler’s sales came to a total of $1,170. While most young men his age
would head straight to a video game shop, the closest Nike store, or
Amazon.com, Tyler so generously donated his sales to AutismCares,
a grant program at Autism Speaks that helps individuals with autism and
their families affected by financial difficulties or natural disasters.
After Hurricane Sandy, Tyler’s family was without power, water and heat
for several days, so AutismCares was a very natural place for his
donation when he learned that life did not return to normal for everyone
so quickly. The proceeds from Tyler’s art will go toward providing
food, clothing or shelter to families who experienced dramatic or
lasting effects of the storm.
Wiley Purkey, of Eldersburg, is sharing his lifelong love of art with his community.
A number of Purkey’s works are being shown at the Sykesville Gate
House Museum of History through the end of 2012. The art on display is
not for sale, but Purkey has four different prints available for
purchase, with all proceeds going to support the museum.
The Sykesville Gate House Museum is among several buildings in
Sykesville being examined regarding compliance with the Americans with
The exhibit includes a range of works, from oil paintings to
linoleum block prints to sketches to watercolors. “I’ve been doing it
for 46 years, so when you get bored, you just move on to some other
medium and keep on going,” Purkey said. “I work on five or six things at
a time, so if I reach an impasse about what I want to do and I’m not
quite sure where I’m going, I take it off the easel or the table, and I
grab another board or one I’ve been working on, and I just start working
on that. I rotate through these panels until I get one finished and
Purkey, 59, has sketched since childhood and started painting
with oil paints at age 13. He said, “Being born in Ellicott City and
then moving to Sykesville gives you an appreciation for history and
architecture, and almost all of my work is architecture or garden.”
Purkey credits the late Thelma Wimmer, of Sykesville, for
inspiring his love of gardening, including a large triptych of her
garden in the show done in oils. He remembered his friend: “She was an
avid, avid gardener. She weeded it all the time; it was an amazingly
weed-free garden. She had poppies, a cherry tree, wisteria, iris —
endless iris. She was the creator of [the] museum in the Sykesville Town
House, which became this museum.”
Purkey gave credit to another woman, Claudia Purkey, his wife of
27 years. “She, in so many ways, is my secret weapon, because people
say to me, ‘How do you produce so much?’ It is because she’s active. She
makes her own life, because she knows that, frequently, I’m going to be
in the studio. And she’s just so encouraging and supportive and takes
up the slack, when I’m elsewhere. She knows that there’s no one else for
me, besides the art. She’s the reason for me that I’ve been able to do
so much for so long — 27 years of it, anyway.”