Art exhibit showcases the talents of children and teens on the autism spectrum

The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine’s Show and Tell Gallery opens on April 13 with a special party for artists and their families. The exhibit, which features paintings, drawings and sculpture created by 27 local children and teens with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), opens in April in honor of Autism Awareness Month, and will remain on display through August 2012. The show was developed to highlight the talent and capabilities of these children and teens while educating the public about the prevalence of autism, especially in Maine.

“Conversations about autism often focus on what these children can’t do,” says Louisa Donelson, a Museum educator and the show’s curator. “The Show and Tell Gallery sheds light on all the things they can do – and do well!”

The gallery includes sculpture as well as drawings, paintings and mixed media works.

While this is the third year that Donelson has curated an exhibit like this for the Museum, the 2012 Gallery is part of a larger project funded by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maine. The project, entitled Play Our Way, included a series of free, private playtimes for autistic children and their families, and a series of therapeutic after-school art workshops at the Museum for a small group of children with ASD.

Autism and other spectrum disorders are among the fastest growing developmental disabilities in the US. Last week, the Center for Disease Control reported that spectrum disorders now affect 1 in 88 children. Despite the prevalence of these disorders, at present there is no known cause or cure.

The Show and Tell Gallery will remain on display at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine through August of this year. Play Our Way private playtimes will be held on April 15 (10am-noon), May 18 (5:30-7:30pm) and June 3 (10am-noon).

For more information about Play Our Way or the Show and Tell Gallery, please contact Louisa Donelson at louisa@kitetails.org.