Festival begins disability month with art auction

A room is filled with vivacious pieces of artwork. Stained glass, jewelry, oil paintings, pots and more take over Pyramid Studios.

Unknown to many, October is Disability Awareness month.

So, Oct. 1, Ability 1st, a non-profit art-based program, which provides services to people with all types of disabilities, hosted the 4th annual “Expressions of Ability Arts Festival” in association with Pyramid Studios.

The organization has been around for 10 years. The price of paintings featured in the show ranged from $35 to $3,800. A necklace and bracelet set made of glass beads went for $20.

All of the paintings were so uniquely different. A painting titled “Fall” presented brown and orange trees with a deep blue fall sky. Another piece, “Hurricane” contained a black and gray background with wavy lines of light blue, dark blue and a light shade of gray. The show also included pieces of artwork such as “Canines,” which had two detailed dogs facing each other, painted on pieces of wood.

The showcase featured artist Joy Bennink, a first-time participant of the show. Bennink was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in 1998. She is a full-time art therapist and learned to paint from her mother, whose paintings were also featured in the showcase. Because of her art therapy, Bennink paints everyday and draws inspiration from her pieces from “life and people.”

Bennink’s paintings in the show contained a great deal of detail and depth.

Bennink said the hardest part of painting such pieces is “knowing when it’s finished.”

“My mom always told me it takes two people to paint. One to paint and the other to know when it is finished.” She added she has difficulty allowing the natural white of the canvass show in the painting.

Featured artists received a commission for each of their purchased pieces and the rest of the money will go to the Ability 1st program.

The show also featured a flutist who played “Amazing Grace” while the audience took a glance at each piece of artwork. In addition, six students from a Lincoln High School interpretive sign language troupe performed “music” for the hearing impaired.

Ability 1st teachers were also on hand at the opening to greet the guests and give information about the program.

The art festival will be held at Pyramid Studios for the next two months and is free to the public. The organization will also hold a Halloween carnival Sunday, Oct. 31 from 1-5 p.m. The public will be able to participate in games, contests, art activities, face painting and will receive goodies.

To attend the Ability 1st art festival, visit Pyramid Studios, located at 1770 Thomasville Rd. across from the Miracle 5 Theater.

Contact Shayla Cooper at famuanlifestyles@hotmail.com