Don't think I've mentioned it here yet this year: April is national Autism Awareness Month. So, except for the first two Monday posts this month, which continued the theme of aging parents-post my father's recent death, the lines between Art, Autism/disAbility and All the Rest of Life have blurred in my thrice-weekly posts during April. Today, I'm giving a shout-out to an organization that's this autism-artist parent's dream: Project Onward.
"The mission of Project Onward is to support the creative growth of visual artists with mental and developmental disabilities. Project Onward provides studio space, art supplies, and professional guidance to emerging artists in a communal workshop environment. With the program’s support, Project Onward artists develop a professional body of work that reflects both a devotion to their personal vision and a desire for artistic growth. We believe that artists with special needs deserve a voice in the world of art and ideas, and that their extraordinary work has a universal audience. Project Onward exhibits, promotes, and sells the artists’ works as a means to provide earned income and a sense of personal achievement, as well as to integrate the artists into the wider arts community. Project Onward collaborates with local and national partner agencies to organize exhibitions and advocacy efforts for artists with disabilities."
Nashville native, Rob Lentz, directs Project Onward and will speak about the program at Montgomery Bell Academy's Pfeffer Auditorium, Mon., April 18 at 6 p.m. At the prestigious boys' school this month, Project Onward's artists works are exibited and can also be purchased.
In other ArtsFriday news, don't forget the Nashville Film Festival--in it's 42nd year and the South's longest-running and among the most prestigious of film festivals. This is Music City and NaFF always features a music films category. Any publicist who follows up press releases with a phone call deserves a nod. Check out "How to Grow a Band," a film about Punch Brothers, including interviews with Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer and Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek, among others.