(MONTCLAIR, NJ) -- Studio Montclair and the WAE Center have announced their collaboration on a portrait project with some of their students. The WAE Center and SMI have shared a long and fruitful relationship, with this exhibit being the first of its kind. Incentivized by the Covid Pandemic and yearning for ways to bring artists together and out into the community, the Portrait Project emerged in 2020 as the means to do just that. The exhibit runs until August 31st, 2021. A virtual gallery visit is available online.
The Studio Montclair (SMI)/WAE Center, Student Portrait Project, used the effectiveness of portrait drawing as an artistic tool for adults with developmental disabilities. Artists with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have found multiple benefits in this project, including improved communication, social skills, and artistry.
SMI and WAE Center instructors recognized that visual arts provide an outlet for adults with IDD or ASD. This project opened space for each artist to make significant contributions by creating self-portrayals. Each organization empowered the creative process by introducing portraiture styles resonant with each student. The instructors throughout this project provided an environment of support and empowerment to each artist as their project developed. SMI/WAE Center believes self-portraits are critical in encouraging students to gain further insight into their lives and surroundings.
There are 37 students who participated in the portraiture project. The foundational theme for this project used iconic artists as inspiration for self-portraits. The artists referenced for this project were Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Vincent Van Gogh, Yayoi Kusama, Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Cindy Sherman. These artists throughout history used self-portraiture as an underpinning of their work.
Studio Montclair is an inclusive, nationwide non-profit organization of exhibiting, professional and emerging artists and others interested in the visual arts. The mission of the organization is to promote culture, education, equality, and tolerance through art. Studio Montclair is committed to diversity at every level. Studio Montclair is an organization rich in talent, sharing those values with the local community. Founded in 1997, the organization includes over 500 members.
Studio Montclair Art Academy, provides art instruction by professional artists in various visual arts media, from studio art classes to programs in art history and art appreciation. We recruit professional artist-teachers with highly specialized skills to work with students as instructors and mentors for all ages and skill sets. Our programs utilize differentiated instruction as a framework to effectively teach all students regardless of differences in ability. Via our exceptional programs, we reach and cultivate creativity in students of various cultures, socioeconomic status, language, gender, age, ability/differently-abled, personal interests, and beyond. Our classes inspire students of all ages by cultivating self-expression, personal achievement, and life enrichment that come with mastering art techniques.
Founded in 2004, JSDD’s WAE (Wellness, Arts, Enrichment) Center is a holistic arts learning program for adults with developmental disabilities. Dedicated to “Finding the Spark Within,” WAE’s focus is on the personal growth of each member. We believe in meeting individuals and supporting them as they identify and achieve their personal goals. Moreover, by embracing these humanistic principles, WAE guides members in building a greater capacity to live a full life.
IMAGES: (From top to bottom) - Scott Gilson: After Hayao Miyazaki, Acrylic on canvas; Candace Cruickshank: Seen not Heard, Marker on paper; Vanessa Montes: Untraditional Vanessa, Mixed media collage; Janet B: Janet, Monoprint