International Art Show by Artists with Disabilities
April 30 - May 22, 2015
Featuring the creative talents of artists of all abilities
Donna Smith's “Stone Hare II."
The Opening Reception for the 2015 show is April 30, 2015, 5-7 p.m. The public is welcome!
The Call for Entries is now open for the 2015 Show. The online application allows artists to upload high-resolution digital images as well as the artist statement and complete the application easily and quickly. Use the 2015 Art Show Entry site to apply for the show.
The Courage Kenny International Art Show is now in its 52nd year, having grown from the passion of the late Margaret Anderson as a forum for people with disabilities to sell their work to a major showcase of fine art created by talented artists from around the world.
New two-phase judging format
The two-phase application process is a common format of juried shows. It begins with a preliminary jury review of digital files. Once the art is accepted to the show, the artists will be invited to send in the original artwork to be juried in-person by the Art Show panel of judges.
Important dates 2015
September, 2014 – Online Application begins
January 30, 2015 – Submission Deadline PHASE 1: Digital images and artist statement
February 20, 2015 – Artist notification of show acceptance
March 11-13, 2015 - Delivery dates for hand-delivered art
March 13, 2015 –Receipt of Art Deadline PHASE 2: Framed art
April 30, 2015 - Opening Reception – Public WELCOME!
April 30 – May 22, 2015 – Art Show
May 28 and May 29, 2015 – Pick up hand-delivered artwork.
Become an artist
The Courage Kenny International Art Show 2015 is open to all artists with a disability worldwide. All work must be original. Artists are limited to entering a maximum of two works and all art must be for sale.
My association with Sister Kenny began 10 years ago when I arrived at its front entrance strapped to a stretcher, able to move my arms a little, but paralyzed below the chest, only able to move the big toe on my right foot.
A week earlier I broke my neck and injured my spinal cord after falling while cross-country skiing in northern Wisconsin. As I lay in the snow waiting for my husband to get help, I said a little prayer promising to work my hardest if I could live to see my daughters again.
I was rescued by snowmobile and then airlifted to St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth where a great surgeon operated on me. Fortunately, the injury to my spinal cord was incomplete.
Every day my body was totally spent. My doctors, nurses and therapists pushed me to get my body working again – and equally important – taught me how to erase the word "can't" from my vocabulary.
Becoming an artist
Although I determined I had no artistic ability back in junior high, I decided to try watercolor painting during my stay at Sister Kenny. A recreational therapist hooked a brush holder to my hand and urged me to try making something.
It was exhausting work just getting the paint on the brush and then to the paper and it took two sessions to complete. I painted three small hearts; one for my husband and one each for my daughters. It was definitely the hardest thing I have ever painted, but worth the effort.
After leaving Sister Kenny, I got busy with family life and for five years I did not think any more about painting. When walking became more difficult and I needed a power wheelchair to get around, I decided to find a hobby to pursue while my family hiked, biked or skied. Watercolor sounded like it might be the ticket, with simple materials to handle and transport, so I took my first class at the Edina Art Center and was hooked.
I made a goal to be brave enough to enter two paintings in the Sister Kenny Art Show. I remember on opening night feeling so awkward wearing a ribbon that said "artist" because I just did not think I was one. To my amazement, when I found my paintings in the hallways, they each had an encouragement award next to them. It is so rewarding and confidence building to be part of this event, even when you do not win an award or sell your painting. The energy is so positive for everyone involved.
Painting what I love
There is so much to learn in watercolor. When I paint, I start with a subject I love, like a tree, the sky or light shining on a window. I mix colors on the paper and am never sure what the end results will be. Often it is the accidental things that end up pleasing me most.
I love the art show and Sister Kenny. In fact, I am still a regular in the therapy gym on the second floor. Three times a week you can find me pedaling away on the electric "stim" bike.
I see the therapists working with patients and see the way people change. It is an amazing place worthy of all our support.