As Autism Awareness Month begins April 1, a group of artists is prepared for an event that will connect them with the community, and help them gain important skills.
The United We Rock Network Champion event is Thursday at 5:30 p.m. It will serve as the first fundraising event for Artists with Autism since the start of the pandemic. The event will be held at the Hyatt Place Delray Beach at 104 NE 2nd Avenue.
One of the artists involved is Jayson Halberstadt. He has an associates degree from Palm Beach State College, but like many artists, he has some skills to learn in the business side of a career as an artist.
“Autism as a disability does not define me,” Halberstadt said.
He says art is an outlet for communication.
“Socializing and speaking is still tough for me but by using art it’s a very good way to communicate and express myself,” he said.
Artists with Autism connects artists on the spectrum with the skills they need to network and sell their pieces.
“It’s a great place for artists on the spectrum to learn these skills. To learn to interact with customers and to take care of their inventory, and it’s been a great process for Jayson and we really want to help more artists on the spectrum to gain these skills,” explained Halberstadt’s mother, Heidi.
Heidi Halberstadt has seen a positive change in her son.
“You have to keep track of what you’re making, how much you need, what’s a good seller,” she said.
Jayson Halberstadt is lining up prints of his digital cartoons for the event on April 1.
“I draw characters from video games and TV shows, which I still take inspiration from when I create my own characters,” he said.
The organization has more than 30 artists, but 4 have chosen to participate in the event. They will sell their work and raffle off prizes as they connect with the community.
Debby Coles-Dobay with Art Moves You says it’s a great opportunity for businesses to find pieces of artwork, while supporting local artists.
“I have a few pieces myself so I might have to buy more,” she said.
Jayson Halberstadt looks forward to the opportunity.
“It would mean a lot for people to come see my work and appreciate what I’m very passionate about,” he said.
Artists with Autism also runs the Autism Art Gallery and Gift Boutique, sponsored by the Festival Marketplace, at 2900 West Sample Road in Pompano Beach. It’s run entirely through volunteer efforts and public donations.