“We believe that all persons, regardless of their disabilities, should have equal opportunities to express their talents and to be successful in the arts," says Michael Dergar, President/CEO of the Pasadena, California-based Academy of Special Dreams foundation. "This art exhibition furthers our mission to increase public awareness, recognition, and appreciation of the creative talents of people with disabilities.”
WHEELS UP: The Wheelchair as Artistic Vehicle features work of various media by five artists – Jhovana Cecena, Tom Doyle, Todd Tostado, Martin Vogel, and Nikita Wang – who are each highlighted for their artistic merit and creation of innovative tools for expression. Eminent artists such as Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec triumphed over their physical impairments with unrivaled feats of creativity and dedication. The WHEELS UP artists show similar fortitude and ingenuity. Both Vogel and Doyle utilize the front and/or rear wheels of their wheelchairs in the actual process of applying paint onto a surface, whereas Tostado's wheelchair serves as the physical link to a computer that ultimately captures the depictions of his imagination.
“The artists affiliated with the Academy of Special Dreams demonstrate the creativity and resourcefulness of artists who use the materials around them to communicate their lived experience and build communities of dialogue and understanding,”
One of the artists, Jhovana Cecena, currently lives in Riverside and has a lifelong interest in the arts.
"Ever since I can remember I’ve enjoyed drawing in pencil to create characters and stories, but lately I have concentrated more on painting with acrylic on canvas to express my feelings for helping poor people,” says Jhovana. “I am happy for this opportunity to have my art appreciated in my hometown."
RAM relies on the generosity of members and donors to support its exhibitions, education programs, and special events. A 50-plus-year-
This exhibit is sponsored by the Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) and is coordinated in conjunction with the Academy of Special Dreams, a locally-based organization championing awareness for the special-needs community.