HOUSTON – Ashley Bass is confined to a wheel chair, but her art knows no bounds.
“My art allows me to express myself,” said said Bass. “A lot of people like my art and I can’t tell you how important that is when they look at one of my paintings, smile and tell me they like it.”
Stephenson was one of several special artists who displayed work at the Third Annual Art in The Park at noon Oct. 22, at the Mini-Park next to City Hall in downtown Houston.
Bass, of Starkville, became involved with the T.K Martin Center for Technology and Disability Center on the MSU campus several years ago. The program helps those with handicaps express themselves and then exhibit their work across the state.
Bass has several paintings on display last week. She said she likes to work in acrylic with bright colors.
“I don’t title my work because I want people to call it what they see,” said Bass. “Sometimes they see something that I don’t. Sometimes I like what they call it and sometimes I don’t.”
Bass said it usually takes her a couple of sessions to get it just right.
“The people at the T.K. Martin Center are our hands and it’s not always easy to get it like I want it,” said Bass. “We meet to paint once a month. It’s always a special day for me.”
Art in the Park began two years ago when Scott Cagle, Chickasaw County Agent, took a group of Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers to visit the T.K Martin Center for Technology and Disability Center. Cagle said the group was impressed by the art and offered to sponsor an exhibit in Houston.
“This really has blossomed into something special that brings a lot of groups and people together,” said Cagle. “The Master Homemakers always volunteer and help staff this event, our Master Gardeners always have the mini park cleaned up and they attend this event, and the Chickasaw County Chapter of the MSU Alumni Association also supports this event.
“If you have never attended this show, you’re missing something special,” said Cagle. “This is quality art that serves a great bunch of artists.”
Each artist earns a commission from the sale of their artwork, but the bulk of the money goes back to the center to provide programs for the handicapped.
The T.K. Martin Center provides multi-disciplinary evaluations and structured programs to allow those with disabilities to participate in educational, vocational and leisure activities. The Center is staffed by speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, special educators and rehabilitation and biomedical engineers.
“We brought seven artists to Houston this year,” said Judy Duncan, case manager with the T.K. Martin Center. “The people of Chickasaw County invited us here three years ago. They have been very kind to support us and buy our art.”
Duncan said the Center also brings T-shirts, hand-painted cards and broad variety of art to suit just about any home or office.
For more information about Art in the Park please contact the Chickasaw County MSU Extension Service Office at 457-4269. For information about the T.K. Martin Center call 325-0882.