The Alhambra features artworks by Academy of Special Dreams

On hand at the ribbon cutting were, from left, Kevin Houser, Erika Deacon, and Edgar Garcia-Mora, The Ratkovich Company/The Alhambra; Savannah Moore, field representative of Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger; Suzi Dunkel-Soto, Alhambra Chamber president; Mayor Katherine Lee; Martin Vogel and Basilio Alonzo, Academy of Special Dreams artists; Councilmember Adele Andrade-Stadler; Michael Dergar, Academy of Special Dreams CEO; Megan Moloughney, The Ratkovich Company/The Alhambra; Jerry Ruiz, the Academy of Special Dreams; Ana Guardado and Kathleen Juarez, The Ratkovich Company/The Alhambra; Sharon Gibbs, CEO Alhambra Chamber of Commerce; and Henrique Horta, The Ratkovich Company/The Alhambra.

The Alhambra Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting celebration May 28 for the inclusive WHEELS UP! art exhibition at The Alhambra, 1000 S. Fremont Ave. The exhibit features the work of local and international disabled artists, including Mandeep Singh Manu, Maru Pombo, Ramit Chopra, Noel Gomez, Martin Vogel, Raymundo Rafael Barajas Moreno, Tom Doyle, Diego Romero, Samuel Jimenez Diaz, Deborah Gallardo, and Basilio Alonzo. The Alhambra exhibition will go through October. In September, a virtual WHEELS UP! exhibition will be held at the Los Angeles City Hall Bridge Gallery. This display has become an annual event.

The disabled artists in the exhibit use unique and creative styles of painting. Mr. Moreno, a quadriplegic, paints with his mouth, incorporating perspective and attention to textures and colors. Mr. Doyle is a working photographer taking pictures from his wheelchair. Mr. Vogel uses his wheelchair to create pleasing symmetric designs on canvas.

The work of these artists with diverse backgrounds, specialties, and personal challenges has been exhibited at the Alhambra City Hall, the Los Angeles City Hall, and now at The Alhambra at Fremont and Mission thanks to the generous offer by The Alhambra to provide space for the exhibition.

There is more to the Academy of Special Dreams than art exhibitions. The non-profit organization, founded by CEO Michael Dergar, is also supportive of writers, filmmakers, and other creative expressions. A small but growing scholarship program is also available to these artists to pursue their education. The academy supports artists and the arts in Mexico and the United States.

“The Special Academy’s mission is to increase public awareness, recognition, and appreciation of the creative talents of people with disabilities by providing opportunities that encourage, promote, and showcase their artistic expressions,” Mr. Dergar said.

Support the work of the Academy of Special Dreams with a donation, the purchase of art work, and other activities by e-mailing specialacademy@gmail.com. The mailing address is 115 W. California Blvd., Pasadena 91105.


WHEELS UP!Academy of Special DreamsThe Alhambraartistspublic awarenessrecognitiondisabilities

Nov 2021


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