Annual Art Ability event showcases creative artists

County Superintendent Ted Alejandre, event Chair Kit Satre pose with artist Brandi Halstead.

The Art Ability art show is a showcase of local artists with disabilities who do not let their challenges get in the way of their love for art. 

Kit Satre, a local occupational therapist, was initially inspired to start the program when she encountered a teenage boy who had muscular dystrophy that was an incredible artist.

“I was working with him to find an adapted device to use the computer,” said Satre. “I looked over, and there were these drawings of mythological princesses and Transformers, and I said, ‘oh, that’s cool; where did you get those? And he said I am in the AP art class here at the high school,’ and I looked at him, and I said people need to see this. And that moment in time started this annual county-wide art show.”

“I live in Yucaipa, but work in Apple Valley,” said Satre. “So every year we do two shows, one up there and one here.”

In attendance at this year’s show was San Bernardino County Supervisor of Schools, Ted Alejandre. Alejandre was the keynote speaker at the event. 

“This is a wonderful show done every year,” said Alejandre. “Kit Satre puts in a great deal of effort to support students across our county, but when you look at the abilities of students in our programs across the county, you don’t realize the talent they have until you give them opportunities like this to really showcase what they have in terms of their abilities, in terms of their thoughts, their creativity, so it’s always great to come and see this. It’s a wonderful event.”

There were many artists, all who had unique stories to tell about the art that they enjoy creating. Drazen Morton, who was showing pieces in abstract and 3D, has been creating art since she was a child. 

“Art helps me relax from the anxiety of life,” said Drazen. 

Brandi Halstead credits art for having a special place in her life. 

“Art gives me a sense of accomplishment,” said Halstead. “The skills that I have a hard time with, like math and other things, are just not going to happen for me. Art is there for me. It’s the way that I can express myself.”

The show featured multiple types of art from abstract to illustrated books and even one gentleman who worked in cutting and polishing stone.

“I cut and polish gemstones, said Brad Allen of Yucaipa. “I work from home and finally used to go to the gem and mineral society here in Yucaipa until I saved up enough money to get my own set of polishing wheels and everything I need at home, and now I work out of my garage.”

Allen suffers from temporal lobe epilepsy due to a congenital disability. He had his first seizure at 24 years old. 

“I sent a text to my mom that I was on my way to her house. I never showed up. And two and a half hours later, my girlfriend found me in the front yard with my organs shutting down. It looked like someone had jumped me. I had bruises all over my entire face from hitting everything in the yard banging against the rocks and the dirt. I woke up in the hospital three days later with no recollection of the three weeks prior.”

Despite the physical challenge that faces Allen, every day, he continues to produce some excellent stonework. His amazing creations were attracting crowds to his table at the event.


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