Engaging in creative art programs may benefit people living with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to research, potentially boosting their self-esteem, confidence, and hope while providing a means of fostering social support. To highlight the value of art for people living with MS, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) has launched a new series for 2021 called “Improving Lives Through Art.”
As part of the program, the MSAA is hosting a paint-along on Nov. 2. Interested artists can order a basket of supplies from the organization by Oct. 19. They’ll then be guided in creating their own original works, led by artist Hannah Garrison — an MSAA Art Showcase participant. The instruction takes place virtually, allowing budding artists to paint directly from their homes.
On Dec. 7, the MSAA will host its Virtual Art Showcase Tour. Joe Caliva — an art enthusiast and docent for the Philadelphia-based Barnes Foundation — will share work from a variety of artists. The tour will “focus on artists from our showcase and their personal journeys with MS and art, and (we) hope to continue this as one of our ongoing themes,” said Jennifer Gaynor, MSAA’s manager of special events.
The genesis of the virtual art series began last year when MSAA saw its milestone 50th anniversary approaching in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the organization to cancel its in-person planned events.
“In light of our longstanding MSAA Art Showcase featuring artists living with MS, we worked to develop a single virtual art tour of the Barnes Foundation with support from our board member, Alex von Plato, who also serves on their board,” Gaynor told MyMSTeam. “The event was a huge success, and we decided to build a series to continue to meet the virtual need of our community and expand on the connection to MSAA’s Art Showcase by including paint-along events in addition to tours.”
For more information on MSAA’s “Improving Lives Through Art” series, visit support.mymsaa.org/ILTA.