The second annual FFRA (Family and Friend Reaching for the Abilities) Abilities Art Gala has just wrapped up and was a great success.

Over 100 wonderful pictures and 30 pieces of ceramics and photography were submitted and displayed at the Art Center of Citrus County during the opening night reception. This collection has all been created by artists with developmental disabilities who come from a three-county area.

Over 200 people attended the event to celebrate the moving work of these artists, some just emerging and many already practicing.

On opening night, 25 pieces of artwork sold to eager buyers and art collectors. FFRA, realizing many artists don’t get the opportunity to be noticed for their talent, has created this unique and powerful event to raise awareness for people with developmental disabilities and to showcase their abilities.

We express our gratitude to the people and organizations who attended and/or supported this event.

First, we thank our artists. Their talent, dedication and willingness made this show the special event it was. Their work is truly amazing.

Many thanks to the Citrus County Chronicle for their reporting and publicity. Thank you, Crystal River Woman’s Club and Barbara Gilley — your hors d’oeuvres were the best. Thank you, Art Center of Citrus County, the best art gallery and theater around, and special thanks to Geri Schwenkler and Sharon Davis. Your hearts and hands made this show what it is. Thank you, Michele Wirt and Alicia Lowe, Yankeetown Pottery Barn and CF College, Lecanto. Thank you to our judging team, Ann Covington of the Florida Artist Gallery and Advanced Art students from Lecanto High School, Rhoma Jatt and Lisel Villemaire. We thank Sally Smith Adams for her music. Thank you, workshop volunteer artists, Ed Velez, Susan Strawbridge, Ginny Svoboda and Gordon Hart, who helped inspire and mentor our artists; New Horizon Village; Mary Louise Shiver, Regions Bank; St. Benedict and the Knights of Columbus; and Homosassa Printing.

If you donated your time, treasure or talent to make this event possible, it is not our intention to omit you from this list. Thank you too. You know who you are.

To purchase art or to view the show, visit the Art Center of Citrus County Monday-Friday 1-4 p.m. throughout July, or visit their website.

Robert DeSimone

FFRA board member

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