To some, a three-legged stool is merely a place to rest your bones. To Mo Onstad, it’s symbolic when it comes to Parkinson’s disease.
For Onstad, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at 48, the three legs represent body, mind and spirit — the three facets important to managing and slowing the progression of the disease. He’s the founder of The Unsteady Hand, a nonprofit that seeks to improve quality of life for those living with Parkinson’s through creativity.
“The Unsteady Hand: Three-Legged Stool Fundraiser” will open virtually during First Friday Downtown at Kreuser Gallery and run through January. The show will feature more than 50 works by Colorado artists who were asked to create a piece inspired by a three-legged stool. Go online to abigailkreusergallery.com to view the works.
Included in the show will be seven hand-crafted stools by Colorado Springs artist and woodworker Tim Boddington. Five of them will be embellished by local artists, such as painter Deb Komitor. The remaining two will be decorated by Unsteady Hand artists.
“Some of the pieces are eclectic,” Onstad says. “There’s one with a dog and tulips done by a person with Parkinson’s. The tulip is the symbol of Parkinson’s. You look at them and think they don’t make sense, but they do to them.”
The pieces will be for sale. Half of the proceeds from each sale will go to The Unsteady Hand to help fund the organization’s new inspiration microgrants, which are available Friday through an application process for Coloradans with Parkinson’s. The number of $50 to $500 grants will be dependent on how much money is raised by the exhibit. Go online to theunsteadyhand.org to apply.
Creativity is important to Onstad in the treatment of Parkinson’s. It helps make up the spiritual leg of his three-legged stool.
“We will fund an individual with Parkinson’s to take art classes in their local community, like at Cottonwood Center for the Arts, and buy art supplies so they’re successful,” Onstad says. “They get to pick what they want to do and where to do it.”
Despite the cold weather and the tightening of restrictions due to the pandemic, First Friday Downtown soldiers on. Some galleries continue to hold in-person, distanced and limited-entry opening receptions, while others continue to offer their new shows online. Go online for more information to downtowncs.com/event/firstfriday.
“They were seeing good participation and sales in the summer,” says Claire Swinford, director of urban engagement for Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs. “Things have gotten harder as things are getting colder and people are more cautious about getting out. November was significantly down from last year. December was better, but still not what you expect during the holidays. Once it gets warmer, it will get better.”
Activities will take place from 5-9 p.m. at various galleries, retailers and nonprofits. University of Colorado at Colorado Springs’ downtown campus will offer a virtual poetry slam, featuring alumni students and faculty. Find them on Facebook Live at 5 p.m.
The group Musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic will present live music by a brass quintet outside Art 111, 111 E. Bijou St. Inside will be new works on canvas by muralist Rachel Dinda, along with pieces by 20 other local artists.
The Space, a tiny gallery that shares its space with the Rusty Fanning Agency at 330 N. Tejon St., will feature “Look Up,” a collection of local urban landscapes in oils by Jon Francis.
GOCA 121, at 121 S. Tejon St., will offer “Silent Self” by Sara Meghdari, a video installation viewers can watch from outside. It depicts a woman wearing a hijab and moving through different emotions as she faces the often negative representation of Muslim women in media.
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