Two Local Artists Travel to Pennsylvania

Tara Arlene Innmon and Gayle Nord Harrison went to Philadelphia. Well, their artwork did! The two Minneapolis artists were invited to be part of ArtFirst! So they sent their art work to join that of Mouth painter Eric Mohn, of Gaithersburg, MD, who—in a sense—was going “home” there.

ArtFirst! at University Medical Center at Princeton, NJ features professional artists with disabilities. It presents 80% of the price of art sold to the artists, who receive awards to recognize excellence and creativity. Their proceeds help support a Breast Health Center at the medical facility and buy art for a permanent ArtFirst! collection displayed at the center to motivate patients and visitors. The next ArtFirst! will open on April 9, 2006 and run through May 5, 2006. The exhibition is free and open to the public. At the 2006 ArtFirst! Show, viewers will see watercolors, oil paintings, mixed media, sculpture, photography, jewelry, stained glass, other fine craft, and more. ArtFirst! premiered in 2003 with Eric Mohn as its featured artist.

Innmon and Harrison had their work exhibited at ArtFirst! earlier this year to be part of this prestigious juried art exhibit Innmon was an occupational therapist until diagnosed with fibromyalgia. She began to go blind in 1986 and worked as a visual artist. Her pastel and acrylic pieces in that period chronicle the changes in her vision. She now works with sculpture, clay, and papier mache on canvas, exhibits coast-to-coast and has garnered numerous awards. Before she became totally blind in 1994, Innmon completed nearly 200 works of art. She exhibits her work across the country and has won many awards. For 2005, her art has been shown in four exhibitions so far, including the San Francisco Lighthouse, where she received an Outstanding Artist Award. Locally her art is showing through October, at Walker Church, 3104 16th Ave. S. in Minneapolis at the Orange Underground Gallery. She sells prints and a line of greeting cards. Currently she is working on an MFA at Hamline University in Creative Writing, where she is working on a childhood memoir. Her art can be seen at www.mnartists.org.

Harrison had polio when she was seven. She missed what she could no longer do and opted for fantasy, building a different world with dolls. Her creativity was aroused again when she moved to New York City in 1963 and experienced its great museums. Harrison ultimately settled on needlepoint tapestry. Her pieces are tributes to such masters as Picasso, whose works she presents in intricate detail. She was an occupational therapist until she retired in 1998. She now devotes herself to doing original needlepoint series. She creates scenes based upon her favorite works, depicting people, furnishings, and objects that, to her, are beautiful and timely.

Mohn’s efforts will also be on display at ALL ABOUT ART at MossRehab. The ALL ABOUT ART exhibit was the brainchild of MossRehab volunteers and staff members, who wanted to state in no uncertain terms that people with disabilities have talent and commitment.

Mohn evokes the creative process within. A quadriplegic since a car accident in 1963, he translates his vision to canvas through precise strokes via a brush in his mouth, and creates watercolor originals. Mohn displayed his work at the exhibit in 1979, when MossRehab inaugurated its showcase for artists with disabilities. Mohn’s work from 1979 to present reflects patience and concentration. It takes Eric about a week to complete an original. To view some of Mohn’s work visit: www.ericmohn.com.

ALL ABOUT ART at MossRehab is an invitational exhibition and sale. MossRehab offers a juried exhibition by professional artists with disabilities. A patrons’ preview party will open the show on October 19, 2005 with many artists and show coordinators at the opening. ALL ABOUT ART opens to the public October 20, 2005 and runs through December 4, 2005. The public exhibit is free. ALL ABOUT ART funds will benefit the Family Hospitality Suite at MossRehab at Elkins Park. For information, contact: 215-663-6100.

There will be 58 artists and about 170 pieces of work at MossRehab including Sandy D’Andrade of Red Hook, NY, a 1977 graduate of Philadelphia College of Art, who will present a fashion boutique, and Sal PanascI of Devon, PA, a 1971 graduate of the University of the Arts who holds a degree in graphic design.

Herb Drill is a charter member of the now International Society of American Business Editors and Writers. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists/Sigma Delta Chi.