Last Saturday was a day for all time! A day long coming and warmly embraced by many. A whole new frontier for Autistic safe space! We are planting our flag for Autism Acceptance and FUN. The 4th Annual AutismHWY.com Chalk Art Festival really delivered that and all of the attendees and partners couldn’t be happier! A day dedicated for unconditional love and acceptance. No teams, no battles, no agendas to eradicate Autism. No negative rhetoric about 1 in 68. In fact we believe one in sixty eight is great!
Autistic adults, children and their families, friends and supporters all assembled at Heritage Plaza Park in Downtown Covina for a great day of Art, Performance and Friendship. It was a powerful feeling to have so many people on the spectrum together for the celebration. So many friends and family old and new coming together for a fun day in the sun to express how we feel and what we believe in. Empowering to say the very least!
Jeff Kellen Carpe Inspirus Award Winner Zach Lopez has it right!
ZACH ‘S Message!
The fantastic Artistic Activist Ms. Dani Bowman!
Our fantastic hosts this year ; The City of Covina and the Covina Cultural Arts Commission were most hospitable. They have even made me a Cultural Arts Commissioner! WOW! We now have a great location that was beautifully mapped out for our special day! Everyone enjoyed the Heritage Plaza Park setting. Booths, Art zones , Drum circle, Performance stage, Chill zone and play area created an all around fantastic atmosphere. Over 600 people came through the event and I believe we would have stayed there all day! No one wanted the day to end! All of us vowing to be back next year for more of the same unconditional acceptance and amazing ART!
Joanne Lara and her Autism Movement Therapy Dancers
What a lovely day! “The Food Mansion” by Syance
Exceptional Minds students….show that off in this great piece!
Eileen Sobora’s beauty of the sea!
Willie Zin shared his multi dimensional talents!
Who’s Clayton played their hearts out!
Adriana Salgado’s CROWD FAVORITE winner! Cat’s are Autistic you know! haha Great call Adriana!
Roman Castro on hand to facilitate the Remo Drum Circle!
Trevor Aycox traveled from Oklahoma with his Mom and Grandmother to share his awesome Spray paint Art with us! Thank you so much for coming west young man! Many people were very grateful that you all did! The connections made at this event have an empowering affect on all of us.
Karen Schaefer Howard working her magic!
Thank you to Remo Recreational Musiccenter for the amazing donation of drums and instruments to power this circle! It was a very moving event for those within it and those of us watching and listening! Different Drummers ROCK!
Daniel from the great Autism Spectrum Athletics organization makes his mark on The Chalkmobile!! Too much FUN!
Jacque Keith Dubois brought his colorful perspective! Thanks so much Keith!
Bj Lane chalking up her heart as she has done for us all 4 years. We cherish your participation Bj!
Lesley Perdomo with her BEST OF SHOW design!
David L. ~Best of Show Youth is interviewed by filmmaker Manuel Valenzuela!
The event was soO chill that not too many people needed the ZONE! …except my son Wyatt (we called it the Wy~Zone!)
Keri Bowers and her Artistic Super Powers….
Debbie Denenburg travels to meet and greet us! So great to have you and your ART present Debbie!
Lysa Ashley and her Autistic Pride Design Winner!
Carissa’s second appearance at the festival garnered her Crowd Favorite! Congratulations Carissa!
Kai’s colorful DRAGON! (and his trademark OWL!)
Pocahantus even made an appearance!
Joel Anderson working on his Einstein logo just after finishing his “steam-punk” Jules Verne! This was Joel’s 3rd appearance. He was the 2012 Jeff Kellen Carpe Inspirus Award winner. The Artist best breathing life through creativity!
LAnt ART ~ Lori Antoinette W looks beautifully into our future of more Chalk Art festivals at heritage Plaza !!
Young Mr. Briceno’s awesome creation! Thanks for joining us again. We love what you add to this event!
Epic Luis Art….takes Best use of Color in the youth category!
Mickey Chap memorializes the Ultimate Warrior in chalk and wins Best use of Color! She said it was her first award in 15 years of chalking! We are PROUD to be the first ones to recognize your talent with Cash Mickey!!
Kevin Hosseini flies in for spring break just in time for the Remo Drum Circle!
Aaron Eh’s colorful creativity evolving!!
What a simple and clear message!!
Thank you to each and every one of us that played a part in making this the most spectacular AutismHWY.com Chalk festival EVER!! next year we will do it again because the possibilities are endless…
Whew….I am soO happy and still processing all that occured during our 2nd Annual AutismHWY.com Chalk Festival!! Wyatt and I feel especially blessed to have this fantastic spectrum of friends! The day was a true success in every sense of the word! Making friends with Autism was on all of our itineraries for FUN.
I do believe that happened for all in attendance including Mr. Kevin Stapleton the mayor of Covina!!
He was having a grand time meeting the many talented individuals the Chalk Art attracted. He heard the many stories from families and friends. He spoke eloquently when Exceptional Minds was given their 2011 ANCA Naturally Autistic Award, and he was down with the Artists as they colored perceptions experientially! Truly awesome. He took the time to talk with most every person there. It was a pleasure to see the expressions of joy, validation and self worth this triggered. I am wishing for April 2013 already!! Funny just how contagious this chalk-joy is!! Have a look for yourselves…….I want to thank everyone that made it to the event!! A very special thankyou to multi talented artist/actor/singer songwriter Michael Harding for taking the time out to sing his awesome Autism anthem” Change a Life”…you Rock Mike!!
How great was Cinco De Mayo for everyone in attendance last Wed. in Augora Hills California? To infinity and beyond!! That’s how great!! To see Autistic Performers entertaining a delighted CROWD!! A vision I want to see more of!! A vision made possible this night by Autism Movement Therapy creator Joanne Lara. Truly a champion and angel for all things spectrum! She is a passionate woman to say the least!
Her passion for dance, music and the Autism Spectrum is infinite! When I was first made aware of this STAR she immediately impressed me! She is actually more like a flaming comet…a star seems far too mild! If you have ever been to one of Joannes presentations your head is bobbing up & down right now as I speak. She is “High~Energy where it is so needed. Thankyou Joanne for all you do and for inspiring others as well!! The best thing we can all do. Spread eachothers goodword and good works. Promoting Friendship through common understanding! That is why I am adding Joanne’s website permanently to OUR Interesting sites section in the left hand margin! Click there for fun and self-esteem therapy! The best therapy the planet has to offer!
Lora Mancini and I arrived to the nice big airy club and got a great seats behind the mixing board! Some amazing performances, great company and atmosphere, Tequila, chips and salsa. It was a celebration that won’t soon be forgotten! So fun to be Celebrating Talents of individuals not previously Showcased with MORE TO COME!! So nice to see a “neuro~diverse crowd meeting in the middle! On the big airy dance floor!
The list of performers was varied like our spectrum!! Soulful Singer Chadwick was the thread running throughout the evening. What a huge voice with incredible range! His personable and compassionate delivery made him the perfect host. Not to mention his goosebump evoking version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Look for Chadwick music on facebook & twitter.
Kyle Cousins and Nick Guzman performed a couple of songs …mixing it up with their different styles and talents! Kyle’s performance had the crowd wowed , enjoying his talent and confidence on stage.
Nick serenaded us with his voice and acoustic guitar skills. Nick also works the microphone and the crowd. He was persistent at nights end to be sure patrons were on hand to collect their raffle prize! ” Do we have a 8675309…Is there a # 8675309 ?” A great time was had by ALL & heck free C.D.’s if you were lucky enough to have Nick call out your number!
Susan Sheller treated us with some awesome numbers. So love her passionate style! Her song inspired by her awesome son “Lookin for Julian” ROCKS!! Her original music can be found in the hit documentary “Normal People Scare Me!” (Love that name!)
Stephen Shore played piano which sounded fabulous…such a diverse crowd. Another amazing treat was the appearance of Elaine Hall and Wyatt Isaacs! For those of you who don’t know …those two names are from the great HBO Documentary “Autism the Musical”! Such a wonderful concept and Documentation of it!
Her idea of an entire production driven by and showcasing the talents on the spectrum. ~AUTISTIC~PEOPLE HAVE SKILLS!!! Woo Hoo!! Elaine has a new show coming out very soon! Find-out more about this little Dynamo here… http://www.themiracleproject.com
Wyatt Isaacs is 15 and quite a young man now!! It was very fun to see him perform his song from the documentary film “Sensitive!! Also exciting to meet with his very cool Mom! There is just something great about Spectrum Supporters! We have a lot of heart and soul!! Wyatt rocked the room and his stage presence and pride beamed!
Jack Mack and the Heart~Attack had a great sounding set and really played hard… Truly including our performers in ALL of the fun!! Thankyou to everyone involved in making this happen!! It was very fun, very entertaining, very marketable and very needed in communities everywhere!!
Here’s hoping that others will follow the lead of these AUTISM~ART~ANGELS!!! With visionaries like Joanne , Elaine, Keri Bowers … http://www.normalfilms.com and Susan Sheller a whole new world of self-esteem is opening up!
That’s WHAT my friend James said when I told him something very cool. Something I was UNAWARE of. That in Australia they have an award event called Autism SA Recognition Awards” to celebrate and honor the spectrum. WOW!! We were both speechless. He said “Really??” James is 24 has autism and is fairly high functioning. He was literally taken aback!! Me too. We both said…”COOL,” in UNISON!!
Recently I became aware of an Australian woman named Allison Dix.She is a busy lady with twin boys with autism. Her11 yr old daughter Kristie has asperger syndrome and sings like an absolute angel.I happened upon her performance at this AWARDS EVENT! Which led me to discover Kristie’s Mom Allison and her site http://www.rainbowlandautismservices.blogspot.com/ at the end of this article PLEASE watch
Kristie Dix’ talented Performance! Allison and ALL under her AmazingRAINBOWare doing great work toward GAINING MOREAUTISM AWARENESS!! I have barely had a chance to research them and will hopefully be speaking to and about them VERY SOON! As I said a few blogs back AUSTRALIANS are not “Down Under.” They are “UP Above.” ! Far and away!!
I am so glad to see that we will have some great examples to pattern after!! What a day it will be when our family members on the SPECTRUM are accepted and understood to this degree! Celebrated EVEN ! I also came across yet another Australian Accomplishment. A full-blown Acting Co. writers, creators, actors and more. Telling THEIR stories. How incredibly informative entertaining and INSPIRATIONAL ! To say the very least. America likes to think that we are CUTTING EDGE on many issues. Well, on this important issue we are working with a DULL BLADE!
We have no problem awarding celebrities over here in the U.S. ~right and left. The list of award shows grow every year. So many that they can’t even televise them all. That is alot because, we know how they love to televise themselves. Now, yes… these people create amazing realities. They should be commended and applauded!! But AWARDED… every time they turn around for, ‘CREATING’ REALITY?!!! How about realizing REALITY and helping to CREATEArtistic Equality and Harmony? I would like to award someone for that!
Well we do have SOME creative arts going and that is where the momentum must continue ! There is a GREAT SHOW “Autism Sings” coming on May 5th…at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills visit Joanne Lara’s website for info http://www.autismmovementtherapy.com I also have info on that on my blog titled “MUSIC SOOTHES…” Some of you may have seen last years HBO Documentary “Autism the Musical”…Very cool, Very needed!! One of the boys from the documentary coincedentally named “Wyatt” is also in “Autism Sings!”
The need to create to feel self worth is INSTINCTUAL. It is to be respected and cultivated. The days of just shuffling these kids from one gruelling endeavor to the next needs to cease or slow-up. Let these kids do the ARTS.Let these kids PLAY BALL! As I heard on the Australian news report I posted a few days ago …take them out in to NATURE! These are three therapies we can ALL TRY on a limited budget!! It is our duty to our beloved individuals on the spectrum…let them be as mainstream as they are comfortable with. Once they are out in the world creating… by writing, singing, acting, painting, playing teamsports or more.The sky IS THEIR LIMIT!!
It is their right . Their instinct to feel that they are contributing and serving a purpose in life! We need to make these HIGHWAYS available for our amazingly talented and insightful A.S.D. family members. And…AWARD THEM Accordingly!! BRAVO !!