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Art added to Westmoreland County Courthouse conference room

| Friday, June 13, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Marli VanHorne of Irwin discusses her covered bridge artwork with Commissioner Chuck Anderso during a reception on Thursday, June 12, 2014 at the Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Richard 'RJ' Kacsuta of Unity cuts a cake with the help of Westmoreland County Commissioner Ted Kopas while Commissioner Chuck Anderson looks on during a reception on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at the courthouse in Greensburg. Commissioners recently enhanced their art display with works by people with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Marli Van Horne took up painting in high school just to help calm her nerves.

Now the 27-year-old Irwin resident has her framed painting of a covered bridge hanging on a wall in the Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg.

“It feels great, and it's amazing,” Van Horne said Thursday during a reception unveiling four works of art being displayed in a commissioners conference room.

The artists are clients of the county's department of Behavioral Health and Development Services.

Jamie Boehme, a program specialist for the department, said the paintings were first displayed in an art show earlier this year for residents with intellectual challenges.

“We want to show the community that individuals with intellectual disabilities have a lot to offer,” Boehme said.

The works now on display were added to about a half-dozen pictures collected by county commissioners in 2012.

Artists featured this year are Keri McKenna of Irwin, whose yellow rose was painted using a brush attached to a head band to compensate for limited use of her hands because of cerebral palsy; Richard “RJ” Kacsuta of Unity, who painted a seascape; Van Horne's covered bridge, and a colorful abstract piece from Ian Mannard of Hempfield.

Mannard, 22, has been painting for six months, according to his father, Joe, who attended Thursday's unveiling.

“He's been reluctant to go out so this is one thing he does at home to relieve some of this anxiety. It's been helping. I think he's pleased,” Mannard said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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