Exploring the Emotional Impact of Art-Making by Deron High School Students with Special Needs
MONTCLAIR, NJ (April 1, 2023) – The Montclair Public Library Gallery at 50 South Fullerton Avenue welcomes a group art exhibition of student self-portraits from the Deron School in Montclair, NJ, on view from April 1 until May 30. The Library will present over 100 works from 35 high school students on the main floor and the third floor children’s section. The SPECIAL PORTRAIT PROJECT is a creatively inspired project designed for students with special needs. One of the main objectives was to focus on the emotional challenges facing teenagers, many with multiple disabilities (MD), physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, nonverbal learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and down syndrome, through art-making.
The project gave students the opportunity to build confidence and self-expression while exploring the emotional impact of making art. Students participated in a multi-staged self-portrait experience, starting with abstract drawings, then realistic photo tracings and ultimately making 3D abstract cardboard sculptures inspired by artists Pablo Picasso and Kimmy Cantrell. All the sculptures were created with recyclable materials.
This project was made possible by artist Maureen Bennett and funded by the Susan K. Black Foundation. There will be a reception to meet the artists on Saturday, May 20 from 11AM-1PM in the auditorium.