5/19/2021 12:54:00 AM

Art from the Heart: New exhibit highlights work of neurodivergent artists


Alabama Artists Gallery reopens with “Art from the Heart”
New exhibit highlights work of neurodivergent artists

MONTGOMERY, Ala., (May 19, 2021) — Alabama State Council on the Arts is showcasing selected works from participants at Studio by the Tracks, the Exceptional Foundation, and Merrimack Hall

The exhibition entitled “Art from the Heart” explores neurodiversity and highlights the work of artists in programs funded by the Council on the Arts. It is on display through July 30 at the Georgine Clarke Alabama Artists Gallery in downtown Montgomery. 

Like many art spaces across the state, the Gallery has been closed to the public for over a year. Since the pandemic began, the Council has continuously supported Alabama’s arts and culture sector through grantmaking. As arts organizations across the state safely reopen and return to in-person operations, the agency aims to highlight the importance of continued public funding for the arts. Through grants, the Council has helped each organization featured in “Art from the Heart” fund arts programming (visual and performing) for neurodiverse populations ages 6 – 90+.

“The Alabama State Council on the Arts is committed to ‘providing opportunities for all Alabamians to participate in and appreciate the arts,’” said Amy Jenkins, Gallery Manager/Visual Arts Program Manager. “Sometimes, the mental image of who may participate in and benefit from arts programming only reflects portions of a population and may unintentionally exclude others. However, these exemplary groups have helped ensure access to the arts to neurodiverse audiences regardless of ability, and in so doing, the participants may learn a new means of self-expression, skills that may last a lifetime, or even a way to help earn extra income.”

Studio by the Tracks – Established in 1989, Studio by the Tracks of Irondale, AL, is a studio and gallery for adult artists with autism spectrum disorders. The studio provides a social network and a career path that enriches artists’ lives and betters the community. Artists receive 60% of any sale of their art works. The studio provides all services and materials to artists free of charge.

Exceptional Foundation – The Exceptional Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was established in 1993 to serve individuals with special needs in the Greater Birmingham area by targeting social and recreational objectives not met by educational institutions or the community at large. The Exceptional Foundation currently serves over 700 individuals with special needs annually. They provide year-round social and recreational services for individuals ranging in age from 5 to 81.

Merrimack Hall – Merrimack Hall houses The Happy Headquarters, a visual and performing arts program for children, teens, and adults with special needs. These programs drastically improve the quality of life for people with special needs, as Merrimack Hall works toward bringing the people they serve out of the shadows and into the life of the community. More than 500 people with special needs participate in Merrimack Hall’s Happy HeARTs Programs, which offers year-round arts education, social and cultural opportunities to children, teens, and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Exceptional Foundation Gulf Coast – Exceptional Foundation Gulf Coast provides social and recreational opportunities for the special needs community of Baldwin and Mobile Counties. The Exceptional Foundation Gulf Coast provides for a diverse group of disabilities and their levels of functionality. The organization seeks to enhance the lives of its participants through its activities such as field trips, Special Olympics, art, daily exercise, and music.

Exceptional Foundation of East Alabama – The Exceptional Foundation of East Alabama provides a program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These individuals meet regularly to experience a broad range of social, recreational, and educational activities designed to promote healthy living, support social relationships, explore the arts, improve functional skills, and foster community involvement.

“Art from the Heart” is on display at the Georgine Clarke Alabama Artists Gallery through July 30. Free and open to the public Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Visit us on the first floor of the RSA Tower, located in downtown Montgomery at 201 Monroe Street, Suite 110.

While enjoying the exhibitions, we ask that visitors wear a mask or face covering and maintain a six-foot distance from others. Hand sanitizer stations are available throughout the gallery space for the convenience of visitors and staff. 

For additional information on the exhibit, contact Amy Jenkins, Gallery Manager/Visual Arts Program Manager, at amy.jenkins@arts.alabama.gov

For more information about the Alabama State Council on the Arts, visit arts.alabama.gov.

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About the Georgine Clarke Alabama Artists Gallery
The mission of the Georgine Clarke Alabama Artists Gallery is to promote the creative talents of Alabamians through exhibitions, publicity, and educational programs. However, most important to the exhibition schedule is the presentation (and celebration) of the fine work being done by Alabama’s artists. The Alabama Artists Gallery was renamed in honor of Georgine Clarke following her death in 2012. Georgine served as Visual Arts Program Manager at the Council on the Arts for 17 years, and her influence on the work of the Council is still felt.

About Alabama State Council on the Arts
The Council on the Arts is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts in Alabama. The Council works to expand and preserve the state’s cultural resources by supporting nonprofit arts organizations, schools, colleges, units of local government, and individual artists. Arts programs, assisted by Council grants, have a track record of enhancing community development, education, cultural tourism, and overall quality of life in all regions of the state. Alabama State Council on the Arts receives an annual appropriation from the Alabama Legislature and additional funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

Notes: 
  • “Art from the Heart” is on display now through July 30, 2021.

  • The Georgine Clarke Alabama Artists Gallery is free and open to the public Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Visit us on the first floor of the RSA Tower, located in downtown Montgomery at 201 Monroe Street, Suite 110.

  • Press is invited to preview of the exhibit on Friday, May 21 (8 a.m. – 11 a.m.; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.). Staff will be available for interviews.

  • PHOTOS: Click here to access images of the exhibit. To download Council on the Arts logos, follow this link

Press contact: 
Perri Hubbard
Communications & Public Relations 
334.242.5153