The Arts Commission and ProMedica Toledo Children's Hospital have found common ground with a desire to help and inspire young people with autism discover the healing power of art. For the second year in a row, the two organizations have combined forces to present Art & Autism, the brainchild of Rita N.A. Mansour, the Chair of the Toledo Children's Hospital and the Co-Chair of The Arts Commission's Development Committee. Her vision quickly gained traction with the local business community, which welcomed the idea of supporting one big event each year.
"Rita saw the opportunity for two organizations with very different missions to share strengths with each other, and combined, raise more funds for youth programs, than they could individually," said Jennifer Jarrett, Development Coordinator of The Arts Commission.
Last year, the event raised $400,000 combined for both organizations, and this year's goal is $1 million.
Children with autism often have a difficult time with sensory issues. As Jarrett explained, art therapy has proven to be an alternative form of self-expression.
"Art therapy can result in improved ability to imagine and think symbolically, recognize and respond to facial expressions and manage sensory issues," she said.
The event took place on Thursday, August 30th and runs from 6-10 p.m. along the Maumee River in Perrysburg. Guests enjoyed an artful evening of delectable cuisine, delicious wines, creative artwork, live music and appearances by nationally and locally recognized top chefs. There were also three local artists and a team of YAAW (Young Artists At Work) apprentices on site creating original pieces of art.
"The event artwork was based on a painting by a six-year-old child who has autism, Amick Olsen," Jarrett said. "YAWW apprentices will work on an artistic bench reflecting the event's theme, which will be auctioned during the evening."
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