LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – Central Floridians can enjoy a one-of-a-kind exhibit featuring dozens of original drawings, photography, and 3D art, highlighting the creativity of those who see life from a different perspective. The exhibit runs through Sept. 26.
“You actually have young individuals just following this very intrinsic interest and bringing it to a very unique result,” Gesa Barto, an autism disorder specialist for UCF said.
The exhibit is located inside Lake County’s Museum of Art and features nine young artists ranging from ages 7 to 26 who have autism and use art as a form of communication--whether it’s through colorful paintings or fashion designs like the ones created by 11-year-old Annada Vergo who creates Ethiopian dresses.
Gesa Barto, an autism disorder specialist with UCF explained people who are on the spectrum are typically visual thinkers and learners.
“We have young people who are thriving where there is a positive force, we just need to uncover it and support it, individually in the right way,” Barto said.
The artists are part of UCF’s center for autism and related disabilities, which provides support to those on the autism spectrum, and connects them with resources.
“I think it’s so important to recognize that people learn and express themselves differently and we really have to embrace others’ perspectives,” Joanna Couch an autism disorder specialist for UCF said. “This is just one example of how people on the spectrum can express themselves in a different way.”
The display comes at a time where families with special needs children and young adults are having trouble connecting them with enrichment programs due to the pandemic.
“Under COVID circumstances this is a totally different light that comes on it because everything is disrupted. So, their sense for routine is disrupted, their services are disrupted, their family dynamic is disrupted,’ Barto said.
For 21-year-old Alex, he discovered photography to be his way of expression and is fascinated by the moon.
“We never saw all the pictures he was taking on the street, the moon and when we started looking at it, these pictures we were like ‘wow! This is amazing’,” his mother, Natalie Lund, said. His curious mind finds art even in things most of us wouldn’t find it--like inside a storm drain from where he took a picture of his reflection.
“That is what’s so unique about my son that he comes up with so many different ways or angles to look at things,” Lund said. “For his pictures to be here displayed and you know, is really very special for us and for him as well.”