CHICAGO (CBS) — A first look at a one-of-kind exhibit right here in Chicago.

Special Olympians showing off another talent at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams has their inspiring story.

You hear athletes say they’re more than their sports. We’re going to see evidence of that this weekend. An artistic benefit for Special Olympics Illinois.

“The composition. The colors.”

Artist to artist, an appreciation.

“This one, for me, captures the bass player well. You can feel him hold tight at the neck.”

Ish Muhammad and Diana Leviton Gondek are professionals.

“It’s something I’d want to see everyday in my house. I just like the way the colors fit in together,” said Gondek.

Relishing the work of those learning to apply brush to canvas. The art work of Special Olympics athletes.

“I’m just amazed at the talent,” Gondek said. “And wonderful art work. It’s really to show there are other aspects to all of us,” Gondek said. “As with the athletes, there’s more than just sports.”

They’re calling it “Art Meets Play” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Saturday night. The art of Special Olympics athletes, side by side with the work of established artists. A message that echoes beyond the museum’s walls.

“It’s diversity and inclusion,” Gondek said. “It’s so important.”

A place in sports and elsewhere for all of us.

“It says we need to see them. We need to see them and we need to acknowledge them,” Muhammad said. “And we need to create a platform where they can participate and be part of society.”

Ish Muhammad and Diana Leviton Gondek will have paintings there Saturday night, expanding the community of artists to include anyone. Including some special athletes.

“We all can do artwork. It doesn’t matter who you are. Art can come out of anyone.”

The event is open to the public. Tickets are on sale now. Food and music along with captivating art.

Art Meets Play comes to @mcachicago on Sept. 18. Proceeds benefit @SO_Illinois. Tickets include an acoustic set by Jim and Rob Bonaccorsi from the Freddy Jones Band, catering, open bar, and access to ongoing exhibits. More info:

— The Magnificent Mile (@TheMagMile) September 14, 2021

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