Artist Earns National Distinction


A second painting by Edith Sarraille of Payson has been accepted by the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Art Collection. The artwork is the 250th piece to be accepted by the collection, which features artwork by people from across the country with neuromuscular diseases.

Sarraille's "Mine" depicts a Mexican child standing in front of a wooden shack in a sandy desert. The little girl is clutching a brand new doll and shyly looking away from the viewer. The oil painting is rich in earth tones of orange, blue and tan.

The painting will be exhibited at MDA's national headquarters in Tucson, and will be included in MDA Art Collection traveling exhibits. The collection was established in 1992 to focus attention on the achievements of artists with disabilities, and to emphasize that physical disability is not a barrier to creativity.

Saraille's first painting to be accepted into the collection was called "Mamacita." The painting was accepted in 1999 and depicted a Mexican woman bathing her child.

"We're delighted to have another lovely painting by Edith Sarraille in the permanent MDA Art Collection," said MDA Senior Vice President and Executive Director Robert Ross. "It is an added pleasure that her painting is the landmark 250th piece for our collection. Her artwork will undoubtedly enchant all who see it as it travels to galleries and museums as part of special exhibits of the collection."

Sarraille retired in 1982 to the Baja Peninsula of Mexico. The painting was inspired by photos taken there when she and fellow American retirees brought toys and gifts for Christmas to a Mexican village that had fallen into poverty when the local brick factory went out of business. The girl in the painting was one of 300 children who received gifts from Santa Claus in an effort Sarraille and neighbors spearheaded. Sarraille said the girl was dressed in hand-me-down clothes and was very shy, but immediately became possessive of her new doll.

Sarraille, 76, has been painting seriously since she retired to Arizona in 1991. Her work has been displayed in local galleries and businesses and it has been purchased for private collections in Arizona, California and other states.

In 1996, she learned she had spinal muscular atrophy, a progressive motor neuron disorder that causes weakness in the arms, legs and torso.

The permanent MDA Art Collection currently includes works by artists ages 2 to 82 and represents 44 states. Each artist is affected by one of the neuromuscular diseases in the MDA program.

Selected art from the collection has been exhibited in galleries across the country, including the Tucson Museum of Art, Cork Gallery at Lincoln Center and Forbes Magazine Galleries in New York.

Sarraille's latest addition to the art collection can be viewed on MDA's Web site at

Visitors also can send an e-postcard featuring one of a variety of selections from MDA's Art Collection by visiting the "What's New" area of the Web site.

MDA is a voluntary health agency working to defeat neuromuscular diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive services and far-reaching professional and public health education. MDA maintains a clinic for area adults and children affected by neuromuscular diseases at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

The Association's programs are funded almost entirely by individual private contributors.

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