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Gallery Exhibition Spotlights Art By People With Disabilities

PHILADELPHIA, PA.-“All About Art,” an exhibition from the permanent collection of MossRehab that features works of artists with physical disabilities, will be the Fall 2007 exhibit at The Community Gallery of The Philadelphia Foundation, 1234 Market Street, Suite 1800.

The exhibit, part of Independence Starts Here: A Festival of Disability Arts and Culture, is free and open to the public by appointment Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., until January 2.

“This exhibit celebrates the creativity and spirit of people who have transcended their physical challenges and who have soared despite limitations,” said R. Andrew Swinney, president of the $330 million community foundation, in announcing the exhibit. The Philadelphia Foundation is the only foundation participating in the city-wide disabilities festival.

Forty-seven pieces from the permanent collection will be on display at The Philadelphia Foundation as part of Philadelphia’s Disability Festival, Independence Starts Here. The pieces selected reflect a variety of artistic media, including watercolors, collages, oil paintings, photography and even a fabric quilt.

“The art speaks to observers on many levels – emotional, creative, even financial for those who recognize some pieces as sound investments. It is uplifting and an inspiration to all others with disabilities as well as able-bodied people,” said Swinney.

In 1979, MossRehab and The Friends of Moss Auxiliary presented their first International Exhibition by Artists with Physical Disabilities – the first in the eastern United States to heighten awareness of the many talents and abilities of people who have physical limitations. The MossRehab exhibit served as a catalyst for many others in the Philadelphia region and throughout the country.

The show, and an extensive permanent collection of art displayed throughout the facility, quickly became two of MossRehab’s most important advocacy projects. MossRehab’s permanent art collection today features more than 220 pieces, including watercolors, oil paintings, sculptures, collages, and other media. Some of the artists represented were former MossRehab patients. Others have their work displayed because they have experienced physical disability as a result of a stroke, traumatic brain injury, loss of a limb, or other disabling illness.

Recognized as a national leader in medical rehabilitation, MossRehab provides high-quality, compassionate medical care for individuals with physical disabilities. MossRehab offers a wide range of specialized services, including comprehensive programs for brain and spinal cord injury, stroke, amputation and orthopedic conditions. MossRehab has two main facilities in Elkins Park and Philadelphia. It also operates inpatient units, outpatient sites and community programs in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

Many of the artists are professionals who work full time in the arts. Others pursue the visual arts as an avocation. The permanent collection contains art from nearly every state as well as from Germany, Nepal, Israel, and Zimbabwe.

The Philadelphia Foundation, a public charity, is Southeastern Pennsylvania’s leading center for community philanthropic engagement and is committed to improving the quality of life in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties through funds established by its donors. The mission of The Philadelphia Foundation is as vital now as it was in 1918 when it was first established. Today, with more than $325 million in charitable assets under management, The Philadelphia Foundation continues to help donors harness their generosity and vision by providing tools, knowledge and financial stewardship directed to maximize the strategic impact of charitable contributions. Grants from more than 750 charitable funds strengthen the effectiveness of nonprofits and support programs that are vital to the people of this region.

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