“All for One” exhibit features visual art and autism

Photo of artwork in the "All for One" exhibition.

On right, student Sarah Mueller discusses her work as a self-impaired studio artist

"All for One" events open to the public:

  • "All for One" on exhibit with documentary film, Jan. 3 through Feb. 28, 2014 (Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Exhibit reception: Feb. 4, 2014, 4 to 6 p.m.

"All for One" event open to WMU faculty, staff and students:

  • Grand rounds panel/lecture, Feb. 4, 3 to 4 p.m.

The Autism and Visual Art "All for One” Exhibition will be on display in the Health and Human Services Building second floor art gallery through Feb. 28, and an exhibit reception is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 4 from 4 to 6 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public, with free parking available in Lot 104. 

The works in this exhibit, including a documentary film, were created as part of the Autism and Visual Art Project, a course developed and conducted by Frostic School of Art Associate Professor Bill Davis through a College of Fine Arts Fellowship in 2013. The project was a collaboration between the Frostic School of Art and the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency.

Autism is a quickly growing developmental exceptionality in the U.S. The one in 10,000 U.S. newborns with autism in 1970 grew to 11 in 1,000 by 2009, and to 11 in 968 by 2011. Currently, 1 in 88 infants in the U.S. will be born with autism.

Through the Autism and Visual Art Project, WMU undergraduate students from various disciplines developed knowledge about autism and competence in working with persons with this disorder. They conducted visual art workshops with autistic students, making art and generating data for research on the impact of visual art on the cognitive and communication skillsets of persons with autism. They also participated in exercises that simulated sensory experiences of persons with autism.

According to course participant and speech pathology student Jessica Parrish, "This course ties with my future career. The art made them comfortable—it visually connected what they did with how they interacted with the people. It was a great experience, and I am glad I could do it."

Western faculty, staff and students are invited and encouraged to attend a grand rounds panel/lecture from 3 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 4 in the Health and Human Services Building room 4010. Panel members for this presentation include Kalamazoo RESA educator Laura Wolfe Eversole, Autism Agricultural Community Options for Residential Needs Executive Director Cathy Pinto, WMU graduate and videographer Taylor Bishop, and Jessica Parrish.

"All for One" will be on display through Feb. 28 and can be viewed by the public Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Gay Walker at (269) 387-3839 or gay.walker@wmich.edu