HomeCherry Hill NewsSpecial needs student work shines at art show

Special needs student work shines at art show

Special to The Sun
Student artist Remi Kenly of Archbishop Damiano School – pictured with his mom – accepted an award for his work at the 2024 Tri-State DisAbility Art Show last month.

Young people with disabilities let their talents shine at the Fourth Annual Tri-State DisAbility Art Show, hosted by Y.A.L.E. School at its performing arts center in Cherry Hill on April 26 and 27.

Students from 3 to 21 years old with disabilities and an IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) or 504 Plan – which ensures that a disabled child’s needs are accommodated in the schools they attend – showcased artwork that included paintings, sculptures, mixed media displays and more.

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The event featured 330 pieces created by more than 300 students from 28 public and private schools in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. They included those with autism spectrum disorders, emotional and behavioral disabilities and visual or hearing impairments.

More than 300 guests visited the gallery over the show’s two days. In addition to awards for juried categories presented by community partners Say It With ClayArt Educators of New Jersey, the Penn Museum, the Pennsylvania Art Education Association and Perkins Center for the Arts, the Tri-State DisAbility Art Show featured live performances from student musicians and craft tables where families could engage in art activities together.

Guests and artists contributed in a unique way to a worthy cause: T-shirts, mugs and more items custom made in the Y.A.L.E. School Vocational Skills Lab & Co-op and bearing the phrase Art for All were available to buy. Proceeds benefitted Perkins’ Arts Accessibility Fund.

Y.A.L.E. School students also held a school-wide fundraiser for Perkins in the weeks preceding the art show, purchasing star stickers to decorate poster versions of Vincent van Gogh’s piece, “The Starry Night.”

The show raised $1,600 for Perkins that will fund its commitment to increasing accessibility with wheelchair ramps and accessible bathrooms at its Moorestown and Collingswood locations.

“One of the most important things we do here at Perkins is support the social-emotional well-being of our communities through arts engagement,” explained Kahra Buss, Perkins’ executive director. “Creating art is a powerful and grounding experience for people of all ages, which supports learning for all individuals.

“We’ve been honored to partner with Y.A.L.E. School to support the Tri-State DisAbility Art Show for the three years in a row,” she added, “and are excited to support the creative efforts of students throughout the region; connect with educators, parents and students; and celebrate the diversity of our communities.”

The art show was an inclusive event, incorporating printed guides in American Sign Language and Braille during the awards ceremony. Prize ribbons for juried works were made by Y.A.L.E. School students in the co-op.


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