THE EYE of an artist can unlock the door to a world of vibrant colors, bold brush strokes, a myriad of creative combinations, realism, abstract and perfectly portrayed images.
Russell Nesbitt Services, Inc., in Wheeling has provided an opportunity for budding artists in the school districts to express themselves through art side-by-side with people with disabilities through the Strength of the Spirit art contest. The event is in its second year and the top eight entries, along with an alternate, will have their work displayed on note cards and available for sale as a fundraising activity for RNS, a United Way agency.
"Strength of the Spirit provides a great opportunity to showcase the talents of individuals who may have challenges in some portions of their lives but have the courage and pride to express themselves through their art," stated Russell Nesbitt's Executive Director Sherri VanTassel.
BUDDING ARTISTS from local schools and agencies serving those with disabilities participated in the second annual Strength of the Spirit art contest presented by Russell Nesbitt Services, Inc., in Wheeling. Richard Farley, a participant in RNS's Day Treatment program, expressed himself with his entry.
Applications for the contest were distributed to school students in Ohio, Marshall and Wetzel counties and facilities that assist people with disabilities. A panel of judges including D.K. Wright, TV-7 News; Rick Morgan, director of the Stifel Fine Arts Center; Robert "Bubba" Kapral, managing editor of The Times Leader and Wheeling artist Barbara Boneberger made their selections on the entries earlier this month.
VanTassel noted Strength of the Spirit is not about "disabilities", but rather "abilities" and a chance for the artist to express themselves in a very public manner.
"Through the artist we are able to better understand someone else's perspective on both commonplace and complex issues," VanTassel said. "It stresses the fact that we are more alike than different."
Winners in this year's contest include John Klug, Tom Ward, Susan Haines, Brian York, Mike Spencer, Mary Eaves and Wheeling Park High School 10th grade students Emily Kimpel and Tiffany Beaver. Ruth Jones' entry was selected as the alternate.
"The Strength of the Spirit note cards are a great way to let your friends and family know that you value every person and their unique talents," VanTassel stated. "The message that you write in the note cards is just as important as the message that the note card itself expresses."
Sponsors for this year's event include Doctors Urgent Care, Gompers Pharmacy, Main Street Bank, Ohio Valley Medical Center, Taylor-Made Printing, WesBanco and Russell Nesbitt Services, Inc.
The note cards will be packaged in both assorted and individual collections. Order forms will be available at Russell Nesbitt Services, 431 Fulton St., Wheeling, WV. For additional information, call 304-232-0233.