Local Artists from Across Connecticut Come Together with Children, Youth and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for Free Art Expression & Bring Autism Awareness.
“Art therapy is a distinct treatment for autism and can be an alleviating activity, help reduce some of its symptoms, provide an outlet for self-expression, and encourage social interaction in a fun environment,” (Hussain, 2017)
By: Yvonne Renee Davis, MS, MA, PC, President
Twenty local artists and children, youth, and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) came together over a three-day weekend at Famiglia D’Oro Studios in Bristol, Connecticut to participate and compete in the first-of-its-kind “Big Bro & Sis Creative Arts Mural Extravaganza”
Created and hosted by Save Our Schools for Our Kids Foundation, Famiglia D’Oro Entertainment, Famiglia D’Oro TV, and DAVISIntelligence, the purpose of this mural competition was to highlight local artists’ talent to young participants on the spectrum to bring awareness about autism as well as the importance of art free expression, and social engagement, and social-emotional healing.
Commencing Friday, July 8, and ending Sunday, July 10, the artists came together in teams to paint a ten by-twelve feet section of the wall with their artistic theme expressing via the arts their thinking and feelings.
From 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on July 8 and 9 and from Noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, the teams worked diligently to sketch and paint their unique pieces. They collectively chose the music to vibe to and worked peacefully to create their masterpieces.
Ranging from ages 9 to 22, each piece being created had a personal meaning about autism, love, self-confidence and esteem, the atmosphere, the planets, cartoon characters, disabilities with Winnie Pooh creations, unity, and more.
On Sunday, July 10, from 4-7 p.m., the judge’s awards reception took place. Noted jurors recording artist and arts activist Ysanne, entertainer, arts and business leader Jacque Williams, high-end fine arts artist and interior aesthetics designer, Randall Van Cole, artist, and arts activist Bobbieanne Stambaugh, and artist and creative arts therapy healer Amy Smith reviewed the art murals to select the Grand and 1st place winners to the fourth-place winner.
Members of the City of Bristol Diversity Council were present along with Theresa Hopkins-Staten, President of the Eversource Foundation and Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Equity at Eversource Energy. Event Sponsor. Proud parents and guests were in attendance with all the artists.
A major highlight of the day happened when legendary rap artist Fat Joe dropped in for a Zoom visit to speak with the guests. Sharing his story about his son who has autism, he spoke to the children, youth, and young adults about his journey with his son and inspired two of the young artists to share their feelings with him about themselves and their belief in themselves. The “Lean Back, All the Way Up” hitmaker is committed to helping to sponsor the next mural extravaganza, brings his son later, and teams with the Founder, Donald L. Greene, Jr. on a kid’s project.
The event was sponsored by Eversource and DAVISIntelligence, with in-kind and monetary donation support from Walmart, Blick, Joe’s, and Grand Paint of New Haven, Moynahan Law Firm, Cheryl Craddock, Nicole E. Porter, Tani Cooper, Amy Smith, Helen Taylor, Karol Jimenez, Anonymous, Town Councilwoman Suzette DeBeatham-Brown, and Jaqui Torcellini.
Co-Partners on this Extravaganza were Mr. and Mrs. Urban North Pageant and The Social Chase. Our artists competing were Jordan Lopez – Grand and 1st Place winner with Anna Mastropolo, Jose “Gecko” Martinez 2nd Place Winner with artist Natalia Soto, Chase Taylor – 3rd Place Winner, Chaslynn and Jaylynn Pierce – 4th Place Winner, Terral Chambers, Elijah Miller, Anna Mastropolo, Janet Galasso, Loyaltie Greene, Jayonna, Jason,
and Zyonna Welch, and Famiglia D’Oro’s intern Catalina Mangiafico.
The Famiglia D’Oro Bristol visit is the first in a plan for statewide indoor and outdoor murals highlighting autism awareness, free expression, and art therapy. The next competition is at an indoor studio in Bridgeport, Connecticut in August partnering with the model, actor, and host and Brand Ambassador, Angelique Jones AKA “Angie Dime” to create the next mural.
Following will be New Haven, Waterbury, Hartford, and Bloomfield before taking the tour regionally and eventually nationally.
Founded in 2018 by Donald L. Greene, Jr. Save Our Schools for Our Kids Foundation (SOS4OK – https://www.saveourschools4ourkids.com) is a 501c3 career pathway, life, and professional skills development organization with a vision to become the most globally impactful organization of actionable learning for children and families from socially and economically underprivileged urban populations.
We motivate youth and adults to discover, acquire & actualize ALL the intellectual, practical, and experiential tools so that they have the power to lead a self-sufficient, successful & sustainable life for themselves, their family, and their community on their terms without financial debt.