May 07, 2021

Bangor art teacher’s sketch accepted by MDA

BANGOR – An intricate pencil sketch by Michelle Snyder of Bangor has been accepted by the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s art collection. Now in its 11th year, the collection features artwork by people with neuromuscular diseases from across the country. Snyder, 50, is affected by Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a neuromuscular disease that results in muscle weakness, particularly in the hands and lower legs.

At one side of “The Elf,” Snyder depicts an elf in a library, sitting with an open book. The rest of the piece offers glimpses of the magical worlds found in books – from an undersea view, to a castle in the countryside, to a fanciful look at outer space.

Snyder, who has been drawing since age 3, studied graphic design and fashion design, and operated a graphics business with her husband, Jay.

Today, Snyder is completing her fine arts associate’s degree at the University College of Bangor. Snyder has also taught art in private schools and adult education classes. She still teaches in her home studio in Bangor.

“The Elf,” the first comprehensive work she’s done since receiving her diagnosis last year, took 75 hours to complete.

“We’re honored to welcome Michelle Snyder’s work into the permanent MDA art collection,” MDA president and chief executive officer Robert Ross said. “Her contribution to our collection will undoubtedly delight all who see it as it travels to galleries and museums as part of special exhibits of the collection.”

Snyder’s “The Elf” will be exhibited at MDA’s national headquarters in Tucson, Ariz., and will be included in MDA’s art collection traveling exhibits. It’s also on display at

The collection was established in 1992 to focus attention on the achievements of artists with disabilities, and to emphasize that physical disability is no barrier to creativity.

The permanent collection currently comprises 300 works by artists ages 2 to 82 and represents all 50 states. Each artist is affected by one of the neuromuscular diseases in the MDA program.

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 the Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

The association’s programs are funded almost entirely by individual private contributors.

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