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Gallery cites disabled artists


A new art gallery emphasizing the work of professional artists with disabilities will open in Washington this week with an exhibit featuring the works of artists from 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The Very Special Arts Gallery will have a private reception for its opening show, "Art Across America," tomorrow from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. It will open its doors to the public beginning Tuesday.

Representing Maryland in the exhibit is Baltimore artist Gerald Hawkes, who uses matchsticks to construct symbolic and utilitarian sculptures.

Brain-damaged in a mugging five years ago that left him with a loss of short-term memory, taste and smell, Mr. Hawkes has titled his contribution "George Bush Lamp," a takeoff on the president's call for "a thousand points of light" in volunteer efforts.

The Very Special Arts Gallery is an offshoot of Very Special Arts -- an educational affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts -- which provides opportunities in music, drama, dance, literature and the visual arts to the disabled.

The gallery is located at 1331 F St. N.W. "Art Across America" will run through Jan. 31. For more information, call (202) 628-2800.

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