The Mountaineer

March 6, 2024

A very personal journey will honor the amazing art of ‘differently abled artists’ in a new exhibit called “Challenge Me, Art by Differently Abled Artists” showing March 8-April 7 at the Haywood County Arts Council’s Haywood Handmade Gallery in downtown Waynesville.

Sharing the exceptional talents of artists with unique abilities is near and dear to the heart of arts council director Tonya Harwood.

“In 2004, my life was completely changed when one of my twin boys was born with Down Syndrome,” Harwood said. “Initially, I felt as though my world had crumbled, envisioning the worst possible outcomes. However, as this little boy named Jake grew and nestled his way into our hearts, I came to realize that we had so much to gain from this experience. Jake has single-handedly revolutionized our family’s perspective on the world.”

Come see the exhibit that offers a glimpse into this extraordinary world. An opening reception will be held from 5-8 p.m. Friday, March 8, at the HCAC gallery.

The exhibit showcases the vibrant and remarkable artwork of differently abled artists from organizations such as The ARC of Haywood County, Haywood County Special Olympics and Haywood Vocational Opportunities, along with Harwood’s own son Jake.

This exhibition serves as a celebration of the remarkable abilities possessed by individuals with different abilities. It is a testament to the power of art to transcend barriers and foster understanding and appreciation. Explore the boundless creativity and resilience of these exceptional artists.

“Prepare to be captivated by the extraordinary works on display at Haywood Handmade gallery,” said Tonya Harwood. “Together, let us embrace the beauty of diversity and recognize the immense contributions made by differently abled artists.”