September 27, 2016


Pennsylvania Honors Winners of Statewide Contest for Artists with a Disability


Harrisburg, PA – Today the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) celebrated the winners of a statewide art contest, “Art: The Universal Language,” during a ceremony and exhibit in the Capitol Rotunda.


“These artists are living the everyday lives that we want for our friends, neighbors, family members and ourselves,” said DHS Secretary Ted Dallas. “They inspire us to pursue our dreams and continue to improve our skills.”


The statewide contest was open to artists of all ages and disabilities. Artists submitted more than 440 drawings, paintings, photos, 3-D works, and mixed media pieces.


The art contest is a collaboration between DHS, The Arc of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association, Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.


“Creating art takes talent, dedication, and commitment. One thing I appreciate about this contest is that it brings this talent to the forefront without consideration of disability,” said Maureen Cronin, executive director of The Arc of Pennsylvania. “The Arc of PA is thrilled to keep supporting this exciting contest. It's been a privilege to see the caliber of work sent in by incredibly talented artists from across the state this year.”


A photograph by teenager Helen Franz of Pittsburgh entitled Dying Flower was named the Best in Show.


Winning entries will be displayed in the rotunda during the ceremony and online here.


Media contact: Kait Gillis, 717-425-7606.

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The winners in each category are:


12 and Under: Andrew LoChiatto of Allentown

13 to 17: Chris Carter-Flores of Langhorne

18 and Older: Gloria Domina of Allentown



12 and Under: Savana McKnight of Mohnton 

13 to 17: Amanda Aquilone of Langhorne

18 and Older: David Vasquez Jr. of Meadville



Age 12 and Under: Corey Smith of Erie

13 to 17: Helen Franz of Pittsburgh

18 and Older: Joseph Smith of Pittsburgh



Age 12 and Under: Ellie DeCoursey of Camp Hill

Age 13 to 17: Michael Campbell of Murrysville

Age 18 and Older: April Cross of Edwardsville


Mixed Media/Other

Age 12 and Under: Arron Rai of Pittsburgh

Age 13 to 17: Samantha McDowell of Washington

Age 18 and Older: Bonnie MacAllister of Philadelphia