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News & Features » April 2014 » Spotlight on Pure Vision Arts

Spotlight on Pure Vision Arts

To celebrate April’s Autism Awareness Month and Drawing Autism, edited by Jill Mullin, Akashic is pleased to feature spotlights of organizations that benefit people with autism. Today, we’re thrilled to feature Pure Vision Arts, a Manhattan-based art studio and gallery for people with autism and various developmental disabilities, and the location of the Drawing Autism launch event. From Pamala Rogers, Director of Expressive Art Programs at The Shield Institute and Pure Vision Arts:

OPure Vision Logon Thursday, March 20th, Pure Vision Arts (PVA) collaborated with Akashic Books and hosted an exhibition of art and launched Drawing Autism, a new publication edited by Jill Mullin. The room was filled with enthusiastic collectors of art, parents, artists, and those interested in inclusion in the arts and autism. The event coincided with Autism Awareness Month.

Several artists who attend Pure Vision Arts are included in Drawing Autism. PVA is Manhattan’s first and only art studio and gallery space for artists who have autism. Located in a sunlit loft in Chelsea since 2002, PVA provides art materials, studio space, and exhibition opportunities to a growing number of emerging artists who are garnering attention for their uniquely expressive work.

PVA’s philosophy begins with the belief that that the arts are a not a luxury but a necessity in a civilized society and that all people regardless of their level of disability should have the opportunity to express themselves through art. Art can provide profound pleasure and a means to facilitate communication and socialization for people on the spectrum. Artists at PVA work at their own paces and developmental levels and explore their own interests. Artists are encouraged to translate what some might consider obsessions or fixations into profoundly personal creations that chronicle their inner lives. The focus is on ability rather than disability, and all of the artists are self-taught. Each artist develops their own “pure vision” from within and not by formal instruction. The art created at PVA depicts a wide variety of fascinating imagery and content. Some of the work is particularly idiosyncratic and unconventional, while other pieces are extraordinary detailed and meticulously created labors of love. Artistic virtuosity is not uncommon in people with autism, and PVA’s exhibitions and publications showcase the depth and complexity of the art being made.

Jessica Park The Chrysler Building with Perihelion and Transit of Venus #2 17x23 Acrylic on Paper 2004 2

Jessica Park, “The Chrysler Building with Perihelion and Transit of Venus #2”; 17×23; Acrylic on Paper; 2004.
Two of Jessica Park’s pieces are included in Drawing Autism.

PVA operates under the notion that autism is not a pathological but a neurological condition. The term neurodiversity was created by people who believe their autism is an intrinsic part of who they are. This has led to the concept that autism is a distinct culture and not a disorder that needs to be cured, but an atypical variation of human neurology.

Current research indicates that some highly influential and gifted people throughout the history of arts and science may have, in fact, been high functioning autistics. This list includes notable people such as Albert Einstein, Andy Warhol, and Michelangelo. The notion that such important historical figures may have autism is very intriguing and points to a possible savant-garde throughout history. This helps society view autism from a larger cultural perspective. It is important to note that we all exist somewhere on a great neurological continuum and genius like autism is also a considered a phenomena of usual brain circuitry.

Ultimately PVA is about building community, creating social change, and celebrating neurodiversity. By promoting the artistic contributions of people on the spectrum to a wider audience, PVA hopes to break down stereotypes and misperceptions about people who have autism. As our society continues to embrace models of inclusion rather than exclusion, it will be interesting to see through the individual and collective vision people on the spectrum how they will continue to have an impact on the arts and sciences. Their contributions could be responsible for creating a paradigm shift in the way we understand the mind, art, creativity, and neuroscience.

To learn more about Pure Vision Arts please visit our website, www.purevisionarts.org, or find us on Facebook.

Susan Brown

Susan Brown, “Her Mother”; Mixed Media on Canvas; 16×20; 2013.
This is one of four works by Susan Brown included in Drawing Autism.

Posted: Apr 8, 2014

Category: Akashic in Good Company | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,