Creative Powers, Art Ability, Delaware Art Museum

Creative Powers: Selections from Art Ability, Delaware Art Museumstained glass by Rae Adelman

“Art Ability is an annual juried exhibition held at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital in Malvern, PA, that showcases art created by people with a wide variety of disabilities. This wide-ranging Outlooks exhibition features over 40 works of art in a variety of media—drawing, painting, sculpture, photography—from accomplished and emerging artists who have exhibited in the 2012 Art Ability exhibition. Guest-curated by Susanna Saunders, Curator and Collections Manager at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital.” – Delaware Art Museum website


Carl Yeager, Creative Powers, Art Ability, Delaware Art Museum

Carl Yeager, Monk, 2/50, print, scanner photograph, Creative Powers: Selections from Art AbilityDelaware Art Museum

Carl Yeager is a graphics arts photographer and has been included in the Art Ability exhibition at Bryn Mawr Rehab year after year. The print, Monk, is painterly, sensitive, poetic and contemplative in it’s composition. The fact that the artist uses a scanner as a high res camera and the magic of Photoshop is besides the point because the result is a beautiful combination of art forms, styles and techniques in one simple, serene image.

“Originally a “purist” photographer, Yeager now considers himself a photographic artist. He works with experimental fine art using a scanner. For the last twenty years, Yeager has had spinal muscular atrophy, a neuromuscular disease. He lives with a tracheotomy tube.” – Delaware Art Museum


Elizabeth Core, Creative Powers, Art Ability, Delaware Art Museum

Elizabeth Core, Summer Solstice, mixed media, Twilight, mixed media, Creative Powers: Selections from Art AbilityDelaware Art Museum

“My paintings are first and foremost about color and its ability to create an essence of spirituality.  I layer color in a variety of shapes, marks, and textures to create rhythm, harmony, and movement.   The resulting abstract landscapes are vibrant yet organic and mystical images.  Each evokes an essence of my own spirituality and my belief that color can create supernatural sensations.” –  Elizabeth Core artist statement

The artist incorporates natural materials like seeds and pods into her paintings creating a dimensional shift in the surface of the paintings. Floral designs emerge from the layers of paint and found objects like crocuses pushing through the dirt. Many of her paintings are very large but these two smaller paintings exemplify the style Elizabeth Core has developed in her art. She recently completed an artist residency at Church of the Holy Trinity on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia.

David Gerbstadt, Creative Powers, Art Ability, Delaware Art Museum

David Gerbstadt,We Have Cream Cheese…, colored pencil on paper, Creative Powers: Selections from Art AbilityDelaware Art Museum

The title of this drawing is actually five pages long. The drawing is saturated with color signaling the effort and time expressed to create a thick layer that obliterates any sign of paper. David Gerbstadt has a wonderful outlook on life considering he escaped death after being hit by a tractor trailer riding his bike. The fun house, kid-friendly spectacle of We Have Cream way to the grown-up fears and PTSD that haunts his cheery garden of life, creepy monsters jumping up to scare the crap out of you when you least expect it like a bad dream. You can read more about David Gerbstadt in his book One Breath At a Time. Available for sale in the DoNArTNeWs sidebar from

Linda Fernandez, Creative Powers, Art Ability, Delaware Art Museum

Linda Fernandez, Man Eater, embroidery on hand dyed fabric, Creative Powers: Selections from Art AbilityDelaware Art Museum

“Series of multi media works ranging from embroidery, to ceramic, glass, and plastic yarn crochet. These works confront the implications of the term “man eater”. I create the image of the man eater in as many different media as I can, drawing from imagination as well as photographs. Each time I learn something new about what it means to be a man eater.” – Linda Fernandez website

The legend on the wall of the gallery states, “Fernandez is a visually impaired artist who has exhibited internationally. Embroidery and crochet all her to rely on touch rather than vision to examine female stereotypes and the traditional role of women in society.”  Fernandez examines the meme of the shark’s open maw of teeth, you know the image from Jaws I.II, III and Revenge and the theme park ride where the shark jumps up to bite you, to subliminally message the role of women and the use of fear as a tool of suppression. The textured material roils with information, fabric being an early use of code, about dealing with gender bias in contemporary society.

Tecu'Mish Munha'Ke, Creative Powers, Art Ability

Tecu’Mish Munha’Ke, Heavenly Hostess, mixed media assemblage, Creative Powers: Selections from Art AbilityDelaware Art Museum

Tecu’Mish Munha’Ke developed her art while battling the pain of fibromyalgia, the act of assembling disparate found objects into a sculpture takes the mind to a place that allows the artist to organize the unorganizable, to tell a story with too many characters to count and explain the unexplainable. The artist says, “I cannot now envision my life without art.” Tecu’Mish Munha’Ke is a member artist of The Plastic Club and Third Street Gallery in Philadelphia.

Cindy Lally, Creative Powers, Art Ability

Cindy Lally, Sky Walker, decoupage and acrylic on cane, Creative Powers: Selections from Art AbilityDelaware Art Museum

Pop art infuses the simple tool engineered eons ago to assist in walking, a clever device offering aid and independence. The astral trip paint job projects the ancient/future vibe of the assemblage, like Creb the disabled mystic in the book Clan of the Cave Bear who was spared for his wisdom despite his disability, Lally’s cane looks out to the future and the stars like Steven Hawking. Sky Walker signifies the cane with intelligence, intuition and spiritually in a super-fun modern take on an ancient human tool.

DoN Brewer, Creative Powers, Art Ability

DoN Brewer, Sky Holes, photograph, Creative Powers: Selections from Art AbilityDelaware Art Museum

There are dozens of wonderful artworks in Creative Powers: Selections from Art Ability at Delaware Art Museum by great artists from Philadelphia and around the world. To be included in their company is a milestone in personal achievement for DoN, being included in this selection of work from a deep well of talent is an incredible honor. It shatters the meme that an artist’s work isn’t recognized until after death. But, DoN’s still alive!

“As an arts blogger I’ve come across many examples of artists who are tackling big issues in society like hunger, homelessness and joblessness where others fail to overcome. The ART sisters Artists Against Hunger fundraiser show to benefit The Food Trust, Kathryn Pannepacker (an Art Ability artist) teaching the homeless how to weave, the William Way Gay Community Center Annual Community Arts Show, and the big one, Art Ability at Bryn Mawr Rehab center.

DoN was introduced to Art Ability by the late Arnie Segal in 2009, since then DoN has participated in the expansive juried show, been included in a spotlight exhibits at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Philadelphia Foundation and now The Delaware Art Museum. Art Ability has connections that reach far and wide, Dr. Susanna Saunders is an arts maven, one who knows how to make things happen like an artist, instead of paint, though, using the arts of conversation, persuasion and intuition to weave a whole fabric out of many tangled threads.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” – DoN Brewer

Sunday, May 12th, the Philadelphia Art Meetup Group and all the Little DoNSters are invited to visit the Creative Powers: Selections from Art Ability at Delaware Art Museum, DoN will present an informal tour of the exhibit and share what he has learned about the artists of Art Ability starting around 12:30, admission to the museum is free at 12:00pm.

Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tecu'Mish May 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Again I have the great honor of having one of my pieces included in your post, thank you!
I hope to be at your informal tour.

admin May 9, 2013 at 8:32 am

Hi DoN,
It was great meeting you at the Creative Powers exhibition. The show looked amazing and it was so inspiring to meet you and all of the other artists. Thank you for mentioning my work on your website! I am planning to submit work to the next Art Ability exhibition. Please keep in touch. Keir and I are about to head to Tulsa Oklahoma for an art residency with Living Arts. Here is a video with more information about our project, we are trying to raise money to cover the costs of the residency so please share with friends.
Linda Fernandez

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