Updated: Aug 3, 2020
Mayra Ron, the founder of Art Possibilities, explains the story behind this non-profit.
Christian Early – Portrait by Mayra Ron
A candid look at the reason Art Possibilities came to be.
Mayra Talks About Art Possibilities
Thirty-three years ago, when my son was diagnosed with autism, not much was known about his prognosis. Such was the state of affairs at that time that I was recommended to institutionalize him. I was also told that he “may never read, never potty train, never speak.” Despite the odds, he speaks, writes, reads and was potty trained both day and night well before regular kids – at the age of two. Yet, that was many years ago when one in 10,000 were diagnosed with this ailment. Today, autism is rampant. One in every 80 children has some sort of this disability, yet all the resources and grants go to the small children — those who have the chance for early intervention, in the hopes that they may be cured. Millions go into new studies, new diets, new advances to discover the why – treat and eliminate it.
Art Possibilities addresses another matter… one that’s been locked in the annals of our attics ~ what to do with the millions who, like my son, were diagnosed 33 years ago? Those that did not incur the privilege of all these medical advances and are now in ‘nowhere land.’ With a special diploma to their credit; they have truthfully nowhere to go. A job opportunity seems obscure since most do not understand the concept of time nor money, cannot take breaks during work hours for they do not comprehend an activity can be interrupted before it’s finished. They do not fit into a Day Training Facility where many Down Syndrome adults feel comfortable, since they do possess other abilities and are bored there, thus causing behavior problems or isolating themselves. It seems society has forgotten them. And that’s where the dream of Art Possibilities was born. I call it a dream for still, after so many years that this malady has existed, no provision has been made for those who aren’t healed from autism when they attain adult age and are out of our school system. There is no “right place” for those who advance wonderfully, as my son, yet cannot blend as “normal” into society. What to do with those thousands? Do we shut our eyes to them, as has been done, and allow them to stay at home watching TV all day, accompanying their parents everywhere, forcing one of the couples to retire from their day job to keep them company, or stick them in a Day Training Center that’s honestly not appropriate for them? So these older counterparts are the forgotten ones; the reason why I wrote my first book, “Can You See Me?” They are the ignored ones.-those this world has decided not to see. So, I’ve chosen, as many other parents like me who have adults like my son, to scream and ask, “What are we to do with them? … Do they not deserve to live a fulfilled life? Why did all those agencies that promised us a smooth transition from high school to adult life not tell us the truth: we do not have a place for them.”
If you read my son’s biography, you’ll notice he didn’t paint until he was 17. He has no apparent ability that caused the world to notice him; no strength. He liked super heroes and one day, I found out he liked to draw them – very childish drawings, but he liked it!! He liked something! He could actually spend hours drawing very awkwardly, but through repetition, heartfelt teachers- and 10 years later- he can draw and paint.
Through painting- and now an illustrator- he has found a place in this world. And that’s what art POSSIBILITIES’ goal is: to find a place where our adults can transition.
Art POSSIBILITIES: The Art Academy
Art POSSIBILITIES’s objective is to become an art academy not only for an hour and a half art class, but a place where talented adults with autism stay all day. Clean, well arranged, with art teachers and trained professionals, where through vision, behavior and speech therapy, fine motor exercises, repetition of lines, eyes, faces – they learn to express themselves while utilizing the right side of the brain – the non-verbal side… the neglected area the school system, with its left-side and analytical teaching, pounded on them for years. Art possibilities will explore from 8:30 to 3:00 p.m. every venue of art, artistic expression, visual aid, fine motor skill, cartoon like characters of themselves to modify behavior and include an exercise activity everyday to motivate team work and social interaction. Even explore art projects for advancing them socially. In this way, by utilizing a never-thought-of-method for adults with autism, we wish to offer them a different future: until now non-existent where they will grow in an area of the brain never explored. This is the goal of all those part of Art Possibilities. Change the world of our adults with autism who fall in the middle of the spectrum and beyond and recognize they belong in this world as much as we do – they are not different we have simply set them apart.
Art POSSIBILITIES: The Brand
No matter how well trained artistic adults with autism can become, they still need to have their art marketable: that is where the branding of art POSSIBILITIES comes into play. art POSSIBILITIES is synonym for high-end autistic art. Every year a designer converts their art into marketable products to be sold in high- end stores, online places, museums, and multiple international and national venues. 70% of the profits return to the original owners enabling these artists to become self-sufficient artists.