Each year, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America's Art Showcases provide the opportunity for artists with multiple sclerosis to share their inspirational work.
Started in 2009, the MSAA Art Showcases are comprised of two categories: the MS Ability Art Showcase and the Four Seasons Art Showcase. Artists with a diagnosis of MS are invited each fall to submit their best oil, watercolor, acrylic or pastel paintings, as well as drawings in ink or pencil. The artwork debuts on MSAA's website, alongside the artists' personal stories during MS Awareness Month every March.
The MSAA Art Showcases were formed to offer a creative outlet for the MS community – a place where individuals with MS could feel comfortable sharing their work no matter their ability level. Over the years, the Showcases have also been a source of inspiration for members of the MS community who may have previously thought their diagnosis would hinder their creative abilities. While MS may pose many challenges to artists, some artists including David Desjardins, a participant in the Showcase since 2013, view their condition as an artistic advantage. "I find that due to the disease, I am slower and more deliberate than I used to be. Before, I tended to rush through a painting, perhaps sacrificing details with which I should have taken more time," said Mr. Desjardins. "Now that I'm slower with the execution, I find my style has definitely improved."
In 2019, MSAA received 151 pieces of artwork from 46 artists. Mr. Desjardins is passionate about the impact MSAA's Art Showcase can have on the MS community and on those who are not as familiar with the condition. "I feel it is very important to show everyone that even though we may no longer function as we once did, we can still make positive contributions to those around us and to society as a whole," said Mr. Desjardins. "Regularly contributing to the MSAA Art Showcase is my way of doing that."
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a national nonprofit organization and leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a Helpline with trained specialists; award-winning publications, including MSAA's magazine, The Motivator; MSAA's nationally recognized website, featuring award-winning educational videos and research updates; S.E.A.R.C.H.™ program to assist the MS community with learning about different treatment choices; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™ (named one of the best multiple sclerosis iPhone & Android apps by Healthline.com); a resource database, My MS Resource Locator®; safety and mobility equipment distribution; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; educational programs held across the country; MRI funding; My MSAA Community, a peer-to-peer online support forum; a clinical trial search tool; and more.
For additional information, please visit www.mymsaa.org
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system (CNS), which consists of the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. MS damages or destroys the protective covering (known as myelin) surrounding the nerves of the CNS, and can potentially injure the nerves as well. This damage causes reduced communication between the brain and nerve pathways. Common MS symptoms include visual problems, overwhelming fatigue, difficulty with balance and coordination, depression and cognitive issues, and various levels of impaired mobility. The prevalence of multiple sclerosis is estimated at nearly one million people nationwide and most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 50. MS is not contagious and researchers continue to look for both a cause and a cure.