According to a story from Multiple Sclerosis News Today, 2019 is the tenth year that the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) has conducted its Art Showcases initiative. The program serves as an opportunity for artists with multiple sclerosis to display their artworks. Various painting methods, such as pastel, oil, acrylic, or watercolor, are featured, as are pencil and ink drawings.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disease which is characterized by damage to the myelin sheath, a fatty, insulating, protective covering that surrounds nerve cells and allows them to communicate effectively. Although a precise cause has not been determined, multiple sclerosis is considered an autoimmune disease, in which a certain trigger, such as an infection, may cause the immune system to mistakenly attack healthy tissue. Smoking and certain genetic variants are also considered risk factors for the disease. Symptoms include blurred vision, double vision, blindness in one eye, numbness, abnormal sensations, pain, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, difficulty speaking and swallowing, mood instability, depression, loss of coordination, and fatigue. There are a number of treatments available for the disease, but no cure. Life expectancy for patients is slightly reduced. To learn more about multiple sclerosis, click here.
Artists With Multiple Sclerosis
The art showcase has become a fixture of the MSAA’s activities for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, which takes place each year in March. During that month, the works are featured on the organization’s website. The site also includes stories about each of the artists. A total of 46 multiple sclerosis artists submitted 151 works this year. You can view the submissions for 2019 here.
The Art Showcase provides a valuable outlet for creative expression for multiple sclerosis patients. Multiple sclerosis can affect a patient’s coordination, so the program is also meant to encourage patients who were artists in the past to look beyond the challenges posed by their symptoms and keep doing what they love.
One patient, David Desjardins, says that multiple sclerosis has actually improved his technique.
“Now that I’m slower with the execution, I find my style has definitely improved.” – David Desjardins, on painting with multiple sclerosis
The MSAA Art Showcase allows these patients to demonstrate that a diagnosis doesn’t have to hold you back.