Something exciting is happening in Gravesham!
Children on the Autistic spectrum are busily creating pieces of Artwork to be shown at the Art of Autism Exhibition organised by the National Autistic Society Dartford and Gravesham branch, at the St Andrews Art Centre in Gravesend. All children on the Autistic spectrum are invited to take part in this Autism Awareness Event. Mandy Garford, Chairperson of the National Autistic Society Dartford and Gravesham branch said ‘Whilst we will be celebrating the amazing work produced and raising Autism Awareness I am hopeful that those with low self-esteem or lack of confidence will become more confident in themselves when their work is valued and displayed in the exhibition. At the last Art of Autism Exhibition one piece of feedback I had was from a parent of a child who had taken part. This child was so anxious that he didn’t speak to anyone except at home. However, a breakthrough happened, as he proceeded to tell his dentist all about his work being displayed at the art exhibition! He was so proud of himself, rightly so, and his confidence had been built to such an extent that he felt able to speak. His voice was valued. He felt valued. I cannot put a price on that.’
I hope that the exhibition will raise awareness of autism – perhaps the struggles and frustrations that people have. Sometimes the internal battles are hard to explain, especially for someone who has difficulty with communication, but it can be both therapeutic for the person creating the art and enlightening for those viewing the art to bridge the gap of understanding and communication through art. I would love for differences to be embraced and not overlooked or hidden. Every single person has a value, and every single person has a voice that is waiting to be heard. I hope to demonstrate that through the Art Exhibition.’
Gravesham Arts sponsored Artist of the year, Matt McCloud, will also be taking part by allowing those on the Autistic spectrum, young or old to decorate a huge 10 foot chrysalis at the Art Centre. Matt said ‘The chrysalis represents the journey of those on the Autistic Spectrum. The difficulties they can face expressing themselves and feeling isolated from the world. With this exhibition we hope that they will grow and flourish, showing Gravesham the beauty that lies within.’
LV21, the big red historic lightship moored at St Andrew’s Quay is also taking part in the project. People of all ages can join the crew onboard to explore the ship and unleash their creativity by helping to build sculptural artworks using LEGO® for the Art of Autism exhibition display.
NAS Artrack an Artist studio for adults on the spectrum based in Gravesend will be joining the exhibition displaying works of art produced by their artists. Artrack will also be selling paintings, prints, t-shirts and embroidery from a market stall in Gravesend Borough Market.
The weekend is designed to kick off World Autism Awareness week and is expected to see MP Adam Holloway and the Mayor Harold Caske attend. The Exhibition will run from March 23rd (for school visits) and open to the public on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th March 10-4pm. If your child is on the autistic spectrum, you may want to check that your school is involved. All schools in the local area have been invited! Don’t worry if your school doesn’t have the time … Artwork or creations can also be done at home.
For more information please contact Mandy Garford by emailing: