What better way to celebrate fall with your family than at an art program surrounded by tall trees with vibrant leaves. On Saturday, October 20, 2012, members of Autism Ontario and first-time visitors to the McMichael experienced Colour My World. The weather may have been wet and rainy, but attendees did not sulk in the damp!
Instructor Anna Pallotta designed an inclusive program with accessible materials and modified tools for her artistic participants. Beginning with an outdoor nature walk on a clear path behind the gallery, overlooking the Humber River Trail, families were in awe of the beautiful, vast landscape of their surroundings.
Each family, including participants and siblings, aged 5 to 21 proceeded to Pine Cottage for their art class. There, they produced “mirror paintings” with a thematic colour palette of red, yellow and orange. In this activity, an artist paints one side of the page, folding it in half to create an identical image. Anna encouraged her class to paint trees, leaves and other outdoor elements of fall.
Owen Misener is a child living with an autism spectrum disorder. He has a fond fascination for classic Halloween movie icons. His scratch art features an image of “Frankie”, a personal interpretation of young Frankenstein.
After completing their work, families had the opportunity to explore the gallery. Owen’s mother, Sandy, was thrilled to visit the gallery, as she had not been back since she was a teenager.
“It was nice to have the grounds as a break area,” Misener said.
Many parents stated that Colour My World was an “autism-friendly” program that catered to various abilities and skills. Siblings were a strong support as they assisted and contributed to the creative process. Through this, Autism Ontario members were able to experience our fall program as a family endeavour, impressed by their children and producing art they considered
“unimaginable at home.”
Our last program, Garden of Arts and Delights, hosted seven participants.
For Colour My World, attendance grew by 56 percent with a talented list of 16 registrants!
One parent, who does not wish to be identified, stated: “Autism-friendly activities taught on a professional level, with real art in this environment, evokes a special mood.”
The beauty of Colour My World is its affirmation of the phrase: “Everyone can engage in art!” This is a driving force within the McMichael EnAbling Change Project.With this, we will continue to unearth the abilities within every individual that steps onto McMichael grounds and walks through gallery doors.
Stay posted for our next family art program!
for more information and an up-to-date schedule.
All photos © Ola Mazzuca (2012)