I am pleased to announce that ELBS student Todd Harvey was selected as a winner of the statewide art contest for artists with disabilities, Art: The Universal Language. He won first place in the acrylic medium for students ages 12 and under. Todd created his masterpiece through a revolutionary art program, A.R.T. (Artistic Realization Technology).
What is A.R.T.? Through the use of a target laser, the artist selects the canvas, paint colors, brush sizes and textures to create their artwork. A trained Tracker then follows the laser light to apply paint to the canvas. This process allows the artist to not only paint, but also to provide a vehicle which showcases their humanity. As Tim Lefens, creator of A.R.T. states, “the art is totally uncompromised. What you see is exactly what the artist wanted.” The laser becomes more than a bridge to the canvas — it is a bridge to the community as it dismantles misconceptions about individuals with physical challenges.
The Barber National Institute first learned about A.R.T. from Tim Lefens, an abstract
artist who developed this program for children and adults with significant physical challenges. After reading about the BNI on the web, Tim contacted us and told us he had secured a grant from the Christopher Reeve Foundation to provide training on A.R.T. at sites across the United States. Were we interested? Of course, I responded yes! In 2008 Tim came, trained us in A.R.T. and we were off running.
Todd started training two years ago in A.R.T. using a laser pointer to direct the application of paint to his canvas. Through Yes and No questions and eye gaze, Todd selected the size of his canvas, background color and color choices. He also chose a tool, either a brush, sponge or pallet knife. His Tracker, Karen Kyler, COTA, followed the laser light, a virtual brush. This extraordinary painting took 12 months to complete. Todd’s painting was also on display at our annual Art Show in April.
I am very proud of Todd for his amazing piece of artwork. Each of our children has an exceptional talent; it’s up to us help them reach their fullest potential.