31 Mar

 By Rick McVicar  

  An art exhibition of 35 self-portraits currently running in Scottsdale, Ariz. shines a positive light on artists who have either an intellectual or developmental disability.   

  The story of one of the artists, Amy Herrgesell, is told by Kathy Ritchie for radio station KJZZ 91.5. Amy used water-color paint with vibrant colors.

  “You can feel her gaze” when looking at the portrait, Ritchie notes.   

  Amy is pictured sitting in a wheelchair. The artist began with a silhouette that was drawn for her. An instructor helped guide Amy’s hand at first before she started painting on her own.   

  The exhibition, “What Makes Me Me,” features work by artists who are members of Opportunity Tree and STARS, two organizations in Scottsdale serving people with disabilities. The groups partnered with Scottsdale Arts to create the exhibition, which runs through May 2.  

  The exhibition is being held at the Center Space Gallery at the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts. Information can be found on a news release found on the Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation website.  

  The exhibition is intended to help “show how art helps individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities gain confidence in themselves, exercise empowerment in making aesthetic decisions and communicate who they are to you,” the news release states.  

   Workshops were held for the artists to create their paintings. Poetry writing workshops were held in conjunction with the art sessions.   

  One of the art instructors, Ellen Murray Meissinger, said artists were given the opportunity to make their own decisions.   

  The end result was for each artist to “achieve a personal expressive and compelling portrait,” Meissinger is quoted by the news release.   

  Some of the artists can be seen with their work on the Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation website.   

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