This past Saturday, NoLA Rising and the pioneering Tulane student group Students of NoLA Rising, had a small paint party with a youth group made up of young adolescents with autism and aspergers syndrome. The event was held at the East Jefferson Main Library on W. Napoleon Avenue with Champions of Greater New Orleans headed by Dee Ducote.
Avi BenBasat, President of the Students of NoLA Rising, happened to meet the coordinator of the group by chance, and thought that it would be really interesting to observe what benefits might come about from concentrated-individual-anything-goes type art projects that are typically associated with NoLA Rising.
For those not too familiar with autism, the condition can often provoke a large amount of stress and uneasiness, as many with the condition have a very difficult time relating to other people, and picking up on social cues and communication, or "empathizing," that most people take for granted. This impairment can often make the world a hostile and confusing place for those diagnosed. The fantastic thing about art, is not only is it incredibly expressive, but it can also be an amazing therapeutic tool. So ideally, one would hope that art projects could not only serve as a potential window for emotions and perspectives previously unknown to the caregivers and loved-ones of someone with autism, but could also be a great calming mechanism for coping with the stresses from a world misunderstood.
The process of creating the artwork showed great promise for all of our young painters and the use of it as therapy was proven. For more information on the Champions of Greater New Orleans, you can email Champions_of_GNO @ juno.com...you can email for more information on meetings and activities.
A very big thank you to Avi for organizing this and to Dee for letting us be a part.