This is the first time a local Orlando art gallery is conducting a mural project to support awareness with autism and special needs development.
“The number of people being diagnosed every year on the autism spectrum continues to increase as awareness increases, the question is how to help those diagnosed…” reads a headline from the the Loft 55’s website.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control suggests one out of 50 children are diagnosed with autism every year and it seems Rivera and Lawson have figured out a way to shed light on the pervasive issue of autism running rampant in children the nation over.
The artistic expressions currently featured in Loft 55 Gallery exemplify the struggle children have with this disease.
The “Moments in Love” gallery currently featured, includes work by the owner of the gallery, Samuel Rivera (Skin), himself and his partner, Ashlie Lawson. Wood carvings, paintings and multimedia art by Annette Monsanto, Kelly Joy Ladd, Julsan (Julio Sanchez), Anthony Acevedo, Santos (Leroy), Elizabeth Mercedes, Danny Rock, Sydney and Ronyai (Mr. Vintage) Hawkins can be found hung about the walls of the space as well.
In addition to that, original works provided by students at the academy also reside in the gallery.
The Academy for Autism, founded in 2005, provides an low income-based education as an affordable alternative for children whose needs are overlooked by the public school system. Teachers at the academy focus on a curriculum determined by their own original Applied Behavior Analysis, through workshops, seminars and small group settings to highlight the specific challenges students face as they are learning to live with autism.
Now until May 3, the Loft 55 Gallery in downtown Orlando is raising money for educational growth for children with autism. As of today, $325 has been raised to fund the project; supporters can buy a magnet, a postcard or a puzzle piece and help them reach their goal of $5000.
Donations are currently being accepted to raise money to purchase materials for painting murals both on the outside and inside of the new school this summer.
“This way the school isn’t responsible for any funds to paint the walls of the school. My resident artists and I will be deciding which colors and designs are best for children with autism and special needs,” Lawson said.
Come down and see the work of local artists, or visit the website for the Artstarter Campaign and don’t hesitate to donate today. You can also email Ashlie Lawson for more information.