International Art Ability Exhibition and Sale at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital Features 400 Extraordinary Works by Artists with Disabilities

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

MALVERN, Pa. (Oct. 1, 2008) – The 13th Annual Art Ability Exhibition, hosted by Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital in Malvern, Pa., will open to the public on November 9, 2008 for a ten-week run. The international, juried Exhibition is a showcase for artists with physical, cognitive, hearing and visual disabilities, and represents the most comprehensive exhibit of its kind in the US. Art Ability 2008 will feature more than 400 works including paintings, sculpture, photography, pastels, jewelry, stained and mosaic glass, metalwork and more, created by 118 remarkable artists.

“It’s our privilege to present a forum where the work of these truly gifted artists can be viewed and appreciated,” stated Donna Phillips, President, Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital. “First and foremost, they are artists – regardless of any physical or cognitive limitations they may have. The fact that they do have limitations makes their work all the more extraordinary, and sends a powerful message about the exceptional competencies of people with disabilities.”

Since the inception of Art Ability, more than 24,000 people have viewed the annual Exhibition, and over 1,600 artistic works have been sold, providing a tremendous showcase for the artists and helping them to achieve greater financial independence. Eighty percent of the proceeds from artwork purchased goes directly to the artists, while 20 percent is earmarked to support Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital’s nationally recognized treatment programs. Several artists are also awarded cash prizes by the esteemed jury.

“As a juror of the show this year, I was not prepared for how profoundly moving the entire day would be," said Gale Rawson, Museum Registrar, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. "It drove home to me more than ever the fact that artists are born, not made, that a true artist, not matter what, will find a way to make art. And what art! I could not stop thinking of all the terrific works we saw."

The artists featured in Art Ability 2008 represent 28 states and five countries, including 45 artists from the tri-state area. Each piece in the Exhibition includes a biography about the artist, and is presented at a level accessible to those in wheelchairs. The Exhibition will be displayed throughout the corridors of Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital at 414 Paoli Pike in Malvern, Pa. from November 9, 2008 through January 18, 2009, and is open to the public seven days a week between the hours of 9:00 am and 9:00 pm. Admission is free.

A Patrons Preview Reception for Art Ability 2008 will be held on Saturday, November 8, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. The Preview provides registered guests with a sneak peek at the Exhibition, and the opportunity to purchase artwork prior to the official opening. Preview ticket prices start at $50.

Several works from past Art Ability Exhibitions have become a part of Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital’s permanent art collection, where the 6,000 inpatients and outpatients receiving care at the Hospital annually, and their visitors, can enjoy them. The artwork provides continuous inspiration for patients, and represents tangible evidence of the return to meaningful, productive lives. Hospital staff members often incorporate the works into therapy, for example, in memory-building exercises for patients recovering from brain injuries.

Artwork from Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital’s permanent collection is also featured in traveling exhibits displayed at venues across the Delaware Valley. Most recently, an exhibit featuring 70 pieces from the Art Ability collection was installed at the William Penn Foundation, and will remain on display over this next year.

In addition, Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital’s Corporate Art Acquisition Program encourages businesses to consider work by disabled artists as they purchase art for their office space. Art Ability has worked closely with such companies as Comcast Corporation, Deloitte & Touche, Endo Pharmaceuticals, and Kirby Bates Associates, to facilitate the purchase of numerous works created by Art Ability artists.

Art Ability is supported by generous grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and VSA arts, as well as presenting sponsor Nason Construction, Inc., and lead sponsors ARAMARK Healthcare, Endo Pharmaceuticals, and Pepper Hamilton LLP. For additional information about the Art Ability 2008 Exhibition, including group tours and the Patrons Preview Reception, please contact the Art Ability Office at 484-596-5607 or

About Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital
Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, located in Malvern, Pa., is a 148-bed physical medicine and rehabilitation hospital dedicated to serving patients and families whose lives can be enhanced through physical or cognitive therapy. Now the largest and most comprehensive rehabilitation services organization in the region, Bryn Mawr Rehab offers a broad range of programs at every level of care for patients suffering from injuries and illnesses including brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple trauma, amputation, and multiple sclerosis.

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Editor’s Note: A high-resolution digital image of this year’s featured artwork, Ascension by Elizabeth Core of Philadelphia, is available upon request.

Barbara Link

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