Artists with autism show their work in “Big Swanky Art Show” in Oklahoma City's Paseo district

The two-night “Big Swanky Art Show III” kicked off last weekend during the Paseo Arts District’s First Friday Gallery Walk and continues from 7 to 9 p.m. this Friday at Istvan Galley during the monthly LIVE on the Plaza art walk in Oklahoma City.
by Brandy McDonnell Published: August 5, 2014

As patrons packed into Rainbow Fleet during the Paseo Arts District’s First Friday Gallery Walk, David Blose took some art lovers by the hand to show them his work.

A technology enthusiast, Blose, 25, had used paint to add whimsical color to computer components including a motherboard, DVD drive and hard drive, as well as rendering such sage advice as “I should have gotten the warranty upgrade” in bright letters on canvas.

“It’s a personal toolkit,” Blose said, pointing out another of his paintings hanging in the Big Swanky Art Show.

The Yukon resident also snacked on gourmet cupcakes and mingled with the other artists participating in the first of the two-night Big Swanky Art Show III, a yearly exhibit of paintings by artists with autism. Supported by the Oklahoma Arts Council, the event is a partnership of Youth and Family Services in Canadian County, Autism Oklahoma and Bee’s Knees, a collaborative of artistic entrepreneurs with autism.

“All the artists have a flower or a boutonniere. It’s swanky. It’s just fancy,” said Cristine Segui-Harris, director of the Big Swanky Art Camp, grinning as the artists signed autographs and showed off their badges featuring avatars they designed and painted.

For two weeks over the summer, 13 teens and adults with autism participated in the camp, where they worked with professional artists to express themselves creatively.

The Big Swanky Art Show is the camp’s capstone event, and it continues from 7 to 9 p.m. this Friday at Istvan Galley during the monthly Live on the Plaza art walk.

“This art camp brings a new level of innovation,” Melinda Lauffenburger, executive director of Autism Oklahoma, said in an email. “The camp promotes creativity and using art to communicate.

“This art camp is not about kids with disabilities, it’s about celebrating the unique gifts of each artist. It’s about bringing these young adults together and showing them what they can do instead of what they can’t do. We really want to bring hope to everyone who has been diagnosed with autism. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, because you can do anything you want to do.”

During Big Swanky Art Show III, patrons can buy paintings, prints, coasters and note cards by the artists, who range in age from 15 to 31, and place silent auction bids on large collaborative projects.

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by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
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GOING ON

Big Swanky Art Show III

When: 7 to 9 p.m. Friday.

Where: Istvan Gallery, 1218 N Western.

Information: www.autismoklahoma.org or beeskneesart.com.

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