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Abilis Artists Inspire Others at Gallery Show

Michaela Moye says her developmental disabilities may present a challenge, but she has no qualms about tackling them head-on. And Moye knows how to make the most of her skills: She is an artist featured in Abilis of Greenwich's show at the Byram Shubert Library .

"I want everyone to know that I may be slightly retarded, but I make up for it in my singing, and I make up for it in my art," Moye said Thursday night at the show's opening.

The premiere of "Windows on the World" is the first event in Abilis' yearlong celebration of its 60th birthday. The show features the work of 15 adults of all ages who receive services from Abilis, a nonprofit organization that supports people of all ages in Greenwich and Stamford with autism, Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities.

For her piece, Moye used blue watercolors for the background as well as pink, blue, yellow and green acrylics to make the flowers pop off the canvas. Moye is no stranger to art: Her mother and sister are artistic, and she has developed her own talents to do art on consignment in Greenwich.

"They tell me what kind of room they have, and I paint to fit that room," said Moye, adding that she gets her inspiration from art museums and plays. "I work in every kind of medium without any kind of art school training."

The Abilis show, which will run through Jan. 27, includes paintings, drawings and prints. Though some are abstract and representational, others portray people or nature. Abilis provided materials to create art and encourage creativity in its clients, but it currently has no active arts program, said Joy Haenlein, communications director for Abilis.

"All of the people are self-directed, and some were inspired by trips to art museums and really do whatever it is they'd like to do in their pieces," said Haenlein.

Philippa Orszulak, who has a 19-year-old son with a severe intellectual disability, said she was impressed with the artwork. "Having a son with disabilities, you know they have to express themselves in different ways," she said. "And the artwork says, 'Look what I can do, look what I can communicate.' It's just fabulous."

Have you seen the artwork from Abilis at the Byram Shubert Library? Which is your favorite piece?

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