By Kathy Collins

VSA Florida, the statewide organization on arts and disabilities, recently held an art show celebrating the 26th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Artists of all abilities were asked to submit artwork which exemplified the theme of “ADA: Designing A Better Tomorrow.” Artists could present a literal or conceptual interpretation.

Sixteen pieces were selected to be in the show including the artwork of Romona Johnson, a resident of Brandon. Johnson painted an acrylic piece called Colorful Lines.

The artwork was presented to the public at the Disability Expo and Awards Ceremony held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa last month. The Hillsborough County Alliance for Citizens with Disabilities sponsors the event each year to promote awareness of disability related programs and services. The event also highlights the abilities and contributions of people with disabilities in the Tampa Bay area.

Dignitaries including Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners Sandra Murman, Kevin Beckner and Al Higginbotham were in attendance. Higginbotham was the keynote speaker for the event.

Johnson has been painting with acrylic since she was nine years old. For Johnson, who has suffered with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) for the past 11 years, painting is a way to her deal with the stress and pain caused by the chronic disease that results in her disability. Johnson said, “Painting is my therapy when things get overwhelming and my RSD is out of control, I paint away my heart. I am blessed, and I will continue to paint. It balances me.”

Johnson does her own matting and framing of each piece of art. Johnson does not sell her art. Instead, she donates it to non-profit organizations who can then use the artwork in an auction to help fund their cause. “It is not about the money. I enjoy helping people. I encourage others to not give up. I also tell them you can do anything when you put your mind to it,” said Johnson.

If you would like to get in touch with Johnson to learn more about her art, email her at

For more information on VSA Florida, visit

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