QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – An art collection highlighting work by young people with disabilities is finding its way to SUNY Adirondack. “Merge” will be visiting the college, all the way from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

The “Merge” exhibition will open at SUNY Adirondack’s Dearlove Hall Visual Arts Gallery on Thursday, Nov. 10. The exhibition features art by 15 different artists ranging in age from 16 to 25, all living – and creating – with varying disabilities. It’s a way to showcase the paths that disabled artists travel in expressing themselves and finding a voice through their work.

“It is important for our college community to see the many ways young adults deal with their disability,” said Rebecca Pelchar, assistant professor of art history and director of the Visual Arts Gallery. “Art can be a meaningful outlet for those suffering from mental, emotional and physical conditions.”

The exhibition will be coupled by a Ted Talk screening at 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30. Speakers from SUNY Adirondack’s faculty and Warren Washington County Mental Health will lead a discussion to follow.

Thursday’s opening will feature refreshments and an open gallery from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The exhibition will run until Dec. 16. “Merge” is touring thanks to the Kennedy Center’s VSA Emerging Young Artists Program, with financial funding by the Volkswagon Group of America.

“These young artists challenge us to see the world through their lived experiences with disabilities,” said Kennedy Center Accessibility Director Betty Siegel. “Their work sparks dialogue and examination of who we are and, hopefully, will ignite understanding around creative and identity.”

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Emerging Artists Competition, which challenged disabled artists to show their best work with the promise of a cash prize to the best. The three winners receive a total of $60,000.