‘Colors of My World’ exhibit features vibrant pieces by artists with disabilities

Bellevue artist David Baker has been making art for as long as he can remember.

“I couldn’t compete with my classmates on many levels,” Baker, who has cerebral palsy, said. “Mathematics was not my strong suit, but I could create art better than most of my peers. My imagination thrived on this.”

He went on to attend Central Washington University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in art. There, he discovered manipulative photography, which has had a lasting effect on the fantastical, vibrant, collage-style pieces he creates.

“Fantasy plays a big role in my collages,” Baker said. “I love watching people invent their own stories while viewing my artwork.”

His artwork has been featured in exhibits throughout the West Coast, as well as on the covers of national children’s magazines. In 1997, he received the Rob Roy MacVeigh Award for Art from the International Wizard of Oz Club.

Some of Baker’s work is now on display at the Museum of Special Art (MOSA) in Bothell, along with pieces by a dozen other artists with disabilities, as part of the “Colors of My World” exhibit.

“Disability may be a limitation, but the ability to create art has nothing to do with these limitations,” he said. “Several of these pieces could easily hang in any gallery or museum.”

Other artists with works in “Colors of My World” include Dawn Domenowske, Emily Locke, Forrest Sargent, Mary Sizemore, John Gregory, Matthew James, Earl Debnam, Anne De Jarnette, Lupita Cano, Cheryl Kinderknecht, Michael Leblanc and Gaetane Cummings. The exhibition will be on display through March 24, and it is the second to be featured at MOSA, which opened earlier this year.

“(The museum) gives people with disabilities a chance to present their work,” MOSA Executive Director Leslie James, who previously started the group NW Special Artists of Washington State, said. “This work is really important.”

James said the next exhibit will open in April and be tied to Autism Awareness Month.

MOSA is located at the back of the Country Village Shops complex, next to the Rosewood Room. It is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call 425-482-0353 or visit museumofspecialart.org.