2017 Diversifying Perspectives Art Contest winners announced

Diversifying Perspectives 2017 Exhibit Catalog and ProgramCharleston, W.Va. (Sept. 6, 2017) — The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) announces the 2017 Diversifying Perspectives Art Contest and Exhibition award winners.

The Grand Exhibitor is Forrest Ash from Mineral Wells for his mosaic picture titled "Rocky Top."

Ash works part time in the art department of SW Resources in Parkersburg. Artistic at a young age, Ash feels he squandered his creative talent for nearly 20 years due to mental health and substance use issues.

Ash won an Award of Excellence in the 2015 Diversifying Perspectives Art Contest for "Luck," a mosaic picture made from small pieces of magazine paper.

Award of Excellence winners are:

  • Kelsey Bable from Follansbee for her mixed media painting titled "Roar." Bable graduated from West Liberty University with a degree in creative arts therapy in May 2016, a path she chose after being diagnosed with relapsing remitting-multiple sclerosis while in high school. Bable won an Award of Excellence for her mixed media piece, “The Butterflies Are Free,” in the 2014 Diversifying Perspectives Art Contest.
  • Lieselotte Heil from Alderson for her watercolor painting titled "Release." Heil uses her artistic and musical abilities as a way of celebrating and expressing her joy and gratitude at being alive and healthy after facing health and disability-related challenges.
  • Tara Roush from Charleston for her acrylic painting titled "Sunburst." Roush expresses her feelings through painting. She likes sharing her work through shows and at her shop, Tara’s Art Creations in St. Albans. Her love of painting is not impeded by her motor disorder or developmental disabilities.

The artwork selected as the Grand Exhibitor has been incorporated into a poster promoting National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a national campaign during October that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. The poster will be displayed in businesses throughout West Virginia.

The Diversifying Perspectives Art Contest and Exhibition is an opportunity to showcase the creative and diverse abilities of people with disabilities and to promote National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October. The contest was open to West Virginia residents with disabilities who were at least 18 years old.

Forty-seven entries were received.

The exhibition opened with a reception on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at the Culture Center in Charleston and will remain on display in the Culture Center's Balcony Gallery through Nov. 3.

"This contest and exhibition allow us to feature the artistic abilities of West Virginia artists with disabilities during National Disability Employment Awareness Month and plays an important role in bringing awareness to disability-related employment issues," said DRS Director Marijane Waldron.

Copies of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month poster are free and available from the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services.

DRS proudly presents this contest and exhibition in partnership with the West Virginia Office of Secretary of Education and the Arts and the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

DRS and the Division of Culture and History are both agencies within the West Virginia Office of Secretary of Education and the Arts.

DRS is the state agency responsible for the federal vocational rehabilitation program in West Virginia. Each year, DRS helps thousands of West Virginia residents with disabilities meet their employment goals by providing individualized work-related counseling, training, job placement and other vocational rehabilitation services through its 30 field offices across the state.

The Division of Culture and History brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums.

To request a copy of the poster or for more information on the Diversifying Perspectives Art Contest and Exhibition visit www.wvdrs.org or call 1-800-642-8207.