Sophia Pineda and Ebbie Hynson are showing others, on canvas, that almost anything is possible no matter the disability, age or circumstance.

Sophia is a 15-year-old Fredericksburg resident with Down syndrome whose heart-related birth defects threatened her life almost before it had begun. Hynson is about to turn 99 and has persevered through her own traumas, including her husband’s death, relocating to a rehabilitation facility and suffering a stroke seven years ago.

Still, both have found ways to express themselves through art, and both are being honored for it.

Sophia is one of the featured artists in an upcoming event sponsored by Del. Kaye Kory (D-Fairfax County). Called “Special Art by Special Artists,” the show features work by those with developmental disabilities and will be on display during February in the main floor art gallery of the SunTrust building, 919 E Main St., Richmond.

An opening reception is planned from 9 a.m. to noon on Feb. 14.

It’s not the first time Sophia’s specialty, animals and scenes in vibrant Chinese watercolors, have been showcased or she’s gotten the chance to share her story.

In October, the Fredericksburg Area Museum celebrated “the true gift of the human spirit and the potential of people with disabilities.” Sophia was the perfect spokesperson for such an event, said Melanie Johnson, the museum’s development and marketing officer.

Johnson praised Sophia for her spunk and personality—two qualities that also have been attributed to Hynson. Described as a beloved artist by others in Colonial Beach, Hynson is celebrating her 99th birthday at JarrettThor Fine Arts on Sunday, Jan. 27, from 2-4 p.m. with a party that’s open to everyone.

Hynson lives at Westmoreland Rehabilitation and Healthcare, where she has a studio in a corner of the facility’s activities room. One of the founders of the Colonial Beach Artists Guild, she is well-known “for her splendid regional landscapes and perceptive still-life paintings,” according to a press release from Carl and Joyce Thor.

Colonial Beach Mayor Eddie Blunt will cut the cake at 2:30 p.m. Hynson’s artwork will be on display, and there will be a silent auction. Her friends said in an October story in The Free Lance–Star that finances can get tight for Hynson, who sells her work so she can afford to get her hair done, satisfy her sweet tooth with chocolate and buy more art supplies.

The gallery is at 100 Taylor St., Colonial Beach.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

cdyson@freelancestar.com

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