Pennsylvania exhibit celebrates artists with disabilities

    The walls of the Pennsylvania Capitol’s lower Rotunda will be adorned with work by artists with disabilities for the rest of the month.

    The display promotes October as National Disability Employment Awareness month.

    Gene Bianco, president of the Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, singled out the work of Sal Panasci, who began painting after he suffered a traumatic brain injury.

    “When Sal paints and he moves to watercolor, he relearns painting and watercolor,” Bianco said. “As he said, he does not build his art over time. He has to relearn his art every time.”

    At the exhibit opening, state Public Welfare Secretary Gary Alexander said the state should do a better job of helping those with disabilities to find work.

    He said he has come to dislike the word “disabled.”

    “This is not the artwork of disabled people. This is the artwork of intellectual genius,” he said. “This is the artwork of people with talent, just like you and me,” said Alexander.

    The artists are from throughout Pennsylvania. Among the seven Pennsylvania artists represented are Ann Marie Geiger of Ambler, Daniel Neufeld of Holland, Bucks County, and Carl Yeager of Montgomeryville.

    Their disabilities include brittle bones, developmental delay, brain injury, and neuromuscular disease.

    The art will be on display through Oct. 28.

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