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Press Releases

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Shifting Gears' Exhibit Highlights Artists With Disabilities

SALISBURY, MD---VSA Arts and Volkswagen of America, Inc., announced 15 young artists whose artwork has been selected for the “Shifting Gears” touring exhibit that will open at Salisbury University’s Atrium Gallery in the Guerrieri University Center on Friday, May 5.

The total, $60,000, is the largest awards program for young artists with disabilities.

A distinguished panel of experts reviewed 215 submissions from artist ages 16-25 years old. The Grand Prize awardee, Isaac Powell, from Pullman, WA, will receive $20,000 - the largest cash award for young artists with disabilities - for his artwork, “Growthplate,” an acrylic, graphite ink on panel; First awardee, Xang Ho, from Baltimore, will receive $10,000 for black and white photography, “Straw Men #1”; and Angelica Busque, second awardee from Chicago, will receive $5,000 for her graphic novel, “Morning Star.”

Awardees were honored at a reception on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, September 21, 2005. The following will each receive an Award of Excellence in the amount of $2,000: Thomas Barnett (North Carolina), Ben Brown (California), Jarrett Camp (California), Brent Emerick (Maryland), Andrew Holmes (North Carolina), Alex Iverson (Oregon), Timothy Kadish (Massachusetts), Matthew Lawson (Tennessee), Dana Liebermann (New York), Hannah Miller (Illinois), Noelle Nevolo (Massachusetts), and Lindsey Williams (Michigan).

“As reflected in VSA arts’ mission, ‘Shifting Gears’ reiterates the necessity for providing support and encouragement to young people with disabilities,” said Soula Antoniou, President of VSA Arts. “Programs like this offer life changing opportunities for young artists. We are grateful to Volkswagen of America for their generosity and congratulate them on their 50th anniversary.”

As in the past, entries are encouraged to evoke a like theme. “Shifting Gears” challenged artists to reflect on a pivotal moment in their life that led to a greater understanding of themselves in relation to their art and their disability. Grand Prize artist, Isaac Powell, said, “As an artist, I believe it is my responsibility to not be afraid to shift my artistic gears.”

VSA arts and Volkswagen of America, Inc. partner together for the fourth year to present an opportunity for young artists with disabilities. “As a company that values diversity and inclusion, we look for ways to highlight the extraordinary creativity and talents of young Americans with disabilities,” said Steve Keyes, director of corporate communications. “We were fortunate to find a wonderful partner in VSA Arts.”

VSA Arts is an international nonprofit organization founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to create a society where all people with disabilities learn through, participate in and enjoy the arts.

VSA Arts provides educators, parents and artists with resources to support arts-based teaching and learning in schools and communities. VSA arts’ programs showcase the talent of artists with disabilities, promote increased access to the arts and support key national education goals.

Each year millions of people participate in VSA arts programs through a nationwide network of affiliates and in more than 60 countries. For more information visit

Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Auburn Hills, MI. Volkswagen believes that the “heartware” is equally as important as the “hardware.” For people with disabilities, the automobile provides both freedom of mobility and self-expression. For more information visit

The exhibit runs through Friday, June 9. Admission is free and the public is invited. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. The gallery is closed Mondays, weekends and holidays. For more information call 410-548-2547 or visit the SU Web site at "

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