Brian Ayers Memorial Art Exhibition

The following information about this past Turchin Center exhibition is kept here for archival purposes only. This exhibition is not currently on display. View current and upcoming exhibitions.

Friday, July 11, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Catwalk Community Gallery

Donato Nirgo (age 10), Germantown, TN; Texas Spring. Image courtesy of the artist and the Brian Ayers Memorial Art Exhibition.

The roots of the Brian Ayers Memorial Art Exhibition go back to a day in 1988 when a 14-year old boy named Jason, who has severe dyslexia, became so frustrated about his school situation that he picked up a chair and threw it across the school library. Rather than taking severe disciplinary action, the school's special education director developed a more proactive approach. Since Jason was a talented artist, Avery County Schools hired a local art therapist to work one-on-one with Jason at school twice a week. Jason completed high school, and eventually earned a degree in commercial art from a local community college.

Another student who received and benefited from this innovative approach was Brian Ayers. Unfortunately, his story took a more tragic turn due to his accidental death at age 19. However, his story does not end tragically as it continues through the Brian Ayers Memorial Art Exhibition which was first sponsored as part of the visual arts programming for the 1994 An Appalachian Summer Festival. In 2003 the exhibition became open to international students with learning disabilities aged 10 - 19. In addition to the United States, talented young artists from countries such as Canada, India, New Zealand, Australia, Korea, England, Malaysia, and China have demonstrated year after year the great artistic ability of children with learning disabilities.

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