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At this gallery, all of the art is made by people with cerebral palsy



At the Washington Reid Gallery in Los Angeles, California, all of the artwork is made by people with cerebral palsy.

"It's exciting, it's fun, and I like the medium I started to do it," Nico Canales says as he stands in front of his portrait. Canales has cerebral palsy.

During the week, artists like Canales come to one of United Cerebral Palsy Los Angeles' facilities to take art classes. And for the next month, they'll get a chance to be working artist and sell their work at their exhibition that's open to the public.

I thought the only kind of art I could do is the kind that you would do in kindergarten and elementary school.
Karen Veronica Taylor, artist with cerebral palsy

"The biggest impact that a studio art practice for an adult that has cerebral palsy is simply a sense of purpose," says Veronica De Jesus, the gallery manager. "They have a vocation that is self-fulfilling."

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects body movement and muscle coordination. The CDC estimates that about 764,000 children and adults in the U.S. show one or more symptoms of cerebral palsy.

"My hands are like this," says Sylvia Drzewiecki pointing to her hands in a fist, "but they made a special tool so that I can hang on to."

Admission to the gallery is free, but if the artwork sells, 40% of the proceeds go to the artists. The rest goes to United Cerebral Palsy Los Angeles, a non-profit that provides more than 40 programs to adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities in Southern California.

"I like my work on display so people can see all I've accomplished," says Drzewiecki.

For this exhibition, titled "Inspiring Figures," the artists got to show off portraits of people they admire.

"Mine is an homage to my friend who passed away," says Nico Canales.

And for some, the exhibition is a reminder of all the ability behind a disability.

"I thought the only kind of art I could do is the kind that you would do in kindergarten and elementary school," says Karen Veronica Taylor, an artist with cerebral palsy.

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