In focus: MSAA's Art Showcase

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA), one of Antidote’s partners, is a leading resource for the entire multiple sclerosis (MS) community, improving lives through vital services and support.

MSAA holds a variety of special events each year, one of which is an Art Showcase that celebrates the work of artists affected by MS. The event is a recognition of the benefits of artistic expression for the MS community. We caught up with the MSAA team to learn more about their Art Showcase and its success over the years. 

How our partner MSAA is changing the art landscape

Antidote: What is the Art Showcase and when did it start?
MSAA: The MSAA Art Showcase was formed in 2009 to offer a creative outlet for the MS community – a place where individuals with MS can feel comfortable sharing their artwork no matter their ability level.

Antidote: Why is it so important to celebrate the benefits of artistic expression for the MS community?
MSAA: It’s important to celebrate the benefits of artistic expression for the MS community because having a hobby or interest such as painting, drawing, or photography can be a positive influence on mental well-being for people with chronic illnesses.

Antidote: Who is eligible to contribute and what mediums do you accept?
MSAA: Any artist living with MS can contribute to the Art Showcase as long as the artist follows MSAA’s submission rules and guidelines. These guidelines can be found on MSAA’s website. We accept the following mediums:

  • Paintings in oil, watercolor, and acrylic
  • Pastels and drawings in pencil and ink
  • Digital artwork including graphic design and photography
  • Only two-dimensional artwork is accepted. Sculpture, pottery, and other types of three-dimensional artwork cannot be accepted.

Antidote: How has this initiative been received by the MS community and beyond?
MSAA: The MS community has fully embraced the Art Showcase! For the last few years, we’ve seen a steady increase in artists submitting artwork to the Showcase. Every artist who completes their submission and follows the guidelines is featured, so there is no fear of competition which may turn novice artists away. The Showcase has been profiled in local newspapers and in online publications across the country since its creation. Supporters of MSAA look forward to the debut of each new Showcase in March in honor of MS Awareness Month – it remains one of our most popular initiatives.

Antidote: How many artists living with MS have you been able to feature since the Art Showcase’s inception? Are there plans to continue this initiative or expand it?
MSAA: We do not know the exact number of individuals who have submitted to the Art Showcase since its inception. Yes, we plan to continue this initiative well into the future as it is one of our most popular.

Antidote: What other initiatives does MSAA run alongside the Art Showcase?
MSAA: Due to the Art Showcase’s popularity, MSAA has created a series of virtual fundraising events highlighting art as a way of therapeutic expression and connection. The “Improving Lives Through Art” series features two types of immersive experiences. The first is a virtual paint-along with an artist living with MS. The second is a virtual art tour with an experienced docent that takes participants through the history of art and provides information on some of the world’s most famous artists. On December 7, 2021, MSAA will host our first deep dive into MSAA's Art Showcase and our incredible participants. Host and docent, Joe Caliva, will take an intimate look at a handful of Art Showcase artists and learn their personal stories of how art has made an impact on their MS journey.

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