Artwork by Autistic Students Exhibited

April 11, 2019

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. And nowhere is that truer than in Artistas Autista, an art exhibit currently on display in Peekskill that showcases the work of 14 students on the autism spectrum.

The show, which was the brainchild of Peekskill artist Wilfredo Morel and artist Donna Mikkelsen, is on display all week and will have an opening reception Saturday, April 13, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Bean Runner Café at 201 South Division Street. It features work by students at the Walden School at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES, the Ossining Union Free School District and the Peekskill City School District.
“Parents don’t always expect that their student’s work will be displayed,” said Jesse Steiner, Walden art teacher and curator of the show. “So, it is special to have the work by these students appreciated by a larger audience.”

Now in its third year, the show initially included only work from Walden students under Steiner’s direction. However, the Peekskill and Ossining school districts asked to join in this year and were welcomed to participate.

“The work that these students have made is amazing, but what is also really special are the connections being made between BOCES, the community and our area school districts. What we can create through these collaborations is so much more effective and meaningful than what any of us could do on our own,” said Steiner.

The show is proof that there are no limits to how one can create art. Ruben Mojica, 16, and Vincent Franco, 14, created works by arranging objects like a scissors, a tongue depressor and a comb on paper, spraying the paper with watercolor paint and then re-arranging the objects and spraying again using a different color.

Colin Scofield, 14,  and Jaylin Ferrucio, 14, created color burst space paintings by stapling pieces of paper cut into different shapes like triangles and squares onto a paper, dipping it in water, and then sprinkling water color powder paints on the surface. As the powder hits the wet paper, it explodes in color.

Brian Belliveau, 11, and Illian Silva, 16, made their artwork using the collagraph process, which involves gluing foam and other objects like feathers to paper, rolling paint over the paper and then creating a print of the work and repeating the process. Albert Sullivan, 14, used the Japanese ink marbling process known as Suminagashi in which ink is dropped across a surface and gently moved around to create a design.

Will Boyd, 9, used tempera paint sticks to create vibrant abstract works, and Eric Mayerbach, 16, worked with herbs and gelatin to create an abstract work with texture. Working during free studio time, Connor Jacobs, 12, painted a group of primitive figures with distinct mannerisms and facial expressions. Eight-year-old Colin Lynch also displayed a colorful piece of art.