Artist Brom Wikstrom paints with his mouth, as he did with this painting “Indian Chief” displayed at the new Museum of Special Art in Bothell. The MoSA grand opening is Saturday afternoon.

Artist Brom Wikstrom paints with his mouth, as he did with this painting “Indian Chief” displayed at the new Museum of Special Art in Bothell. The MoSA grand opening is Saturday afternoon.

Museum in Bothell features work by special artists

The art could have been done by any professional.

But what is displayed at the new Museum of Special Art in Bothell is painted by people with disabilities — different abilities, if you will — of all sorts. It will be the first museum of its kind in the state. Among those whose works will be shown are members of Northwest Special Artists as well as the All Aboard Artists based in Everett.

MoSA has been in the works for years. The nonprofit institution’s mission is to make accessible art exhibitions and educational opportunities that promote disability awareness and inclusion.

Leslie James, an art and special education teacher, is the founder and executive director.

“When the gallery for special artists at the Seattle Center closed a few years ago, I felt something needed to replace it,” James said.

Artworks in Edmonds, the Bellevue Arts Museum, the Pacific Science Center and the Edmonds Arts Commission provided encouragement to James and her programs for disabled artists.

“From there, the idea started growing,” she said. “I knew it was the right thing to do. Because if I was having a hard time getting special artist exhibitions out in the public eye, then how much more difficult would it be for these artists? They needed a home, a place where they could be recognized for their beautiful artistic creations.”

Now that the word is out about MoSA, James is hearing from artists with disabilities from around the state and the country.

The museum will offer a place to learn marketing and retail skills as the artists prepare their work for exhibition and reproduce their work to sell. Also offered will be art classes and a small gift shop of artwork created by artists with disabilities.

The first exhibition, up through Oct. 24, is titled “Heartfelt Possibilities.” For James and her artist friends, it’s a dream come true.

If you go

Museum of Special Artists grand opening, 1 to 4 p.m. July 23, 720 238th St. SE, Suite 1, Bothell, located at Country Village, just off the Bothell-Everett Highway.

Free admission. Free parking. Shopping. Refreshments.

More at www.museumofspecialart.org.

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