The Wynwood Arts District is no stranger to world-famous modern art exhibitions. Its walls, which have redefined street and graffiti art, are a huge attraction in the art community.
But Wynwood hasn’t seen this type of art showcase before.
On Friday, July 24, the first-ever Art for Autism exhibition and auction is coming to Wynwood.
This is not your typical art charity auction in which all the artwork is made by people not affected by the disease/disability — say an auction of Romero Britto paintings to benefit cancer research. What makes this showcase truly unique is that nearly all of the 20 or so works to be displayed and sold are made by autistic artists, amateur and professional alike.
The nonprofit American Autism Association, which began five years ago in New York City, is hosting the event as a fundraiser to run its operations and services to the autistic community in Miami. Among its services, the organization offers numerous free therapeutic lessons to low-income/single families who are affected by autism. In addition, it has begun to also offer ballet, basketball, and soccer classes to autistic children. To families not able to access these programs, hotlines are made available for them to help find local therapies, as well as counseling.
Running a nonprofit always has its costs and the organization wanted to create an event to raise awareness about autism, while raising money in a new creative way. The Art for Autism event is what emerged.
“One of our interns actually came up with the idea,” says Eliane Abou-Assi, executive director of the American Autism Association. “We only expanded to Miami under two years ago. … We wanted to be recognized a little more here in the community. Our office is actually in the Wynwood area and art is really prevalent here.”
The art to be sold comes from artists far and near, including Miami, Connecticut, Vancouver, Louisville, even Israel. All artists have completely donated their work to the organization for the proceeds to directly go to the foundation.
Among the artwork includes renowned artists Vito Bonanno, J.A. Tan, and Trent Altman, each of whom have won numerous awards and have their own art on display in galleries around the world. Right next to their artwork will be artwork from local art students from Learning Links, a special-needs school in Miami.
Ultimately, the Art for Autism event is to show that art can be enjoyed and created by all people, regardless of disabilities says Abou-Assi.
“Art is a great outlet for people to express themselves and is a really great hobby for a lot of people who aren’t very good at socializing. Especially for us to be able to put kids’ works alongside people who are well known and do this for a living. I think is really going to serve as an inspiration for the younger generation who are just getting involved in these types of things. …We are really hoping that the event will be a great success,” says Abou-Assi.
The first annual Art for Autism showcase and auction will be held at 7 p.m. at the Pan American Arts Project Art Gallery, 2450 NW Second Ave, Miami.
Tickets can be bought in-advance online at http://myautism.ticketleap.com/art-for-autism/details or at the site. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for children. Light food and refreshments will be provided, as well as drinks available at an open bar for guests over the age of 21. Attire is casual cocktail.