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Arts, Sports & Culture

Capitol Exhibit Showcases Art of Disabled Pennsylvanians

This October, the walls of the state Capitol's lower rotunda are adorned with art created by Pennsylvanians with disabilities.

The display promotes October as National Disability Employment Awareness month.

Gene Bianco, president of the Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, singled out the work of Sal Panasci, who began painting after he suffered a traumatic brain injury.

"When Sal paints and he moves to watercolor, he relearns painting and watercolor," said Bianco. "He does not build his art over time. He has to relearn his art every time."

The art comes from seven Pennsylvania artists, including three from Erie County. The others hail from Bucks, Chester, and Montgomery Counties.

State Public Welfare Secretary Gary Alexander said he dislikes the term 'disabled.'

"This is not the artwork of 'disabled' people," said Alexander. "This is the artwork of intellectual genius. This is the artwork of people with talent, just like you and me."

At the exhibit opening, Alexander said the state should do a better job of helping people with disabilities to find jobs.

"As a state and as a nation, we need to have more of an effort to enable everybody to go to work, but we should start with this group," said Alexander.

The art exhibit will be on display through October 28th in the Capitol's lower rotunda.