This is Alexis, age 13, from Arizona. The stunning piece of artwork to her left? That's hers.
It's called "A Day at the Beach" and features the different textures you might feel and touch at the beach.
Alexis is a student at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind; she has a visual impairment, with limited sight. Her creation was one of two pieces selected to represent Arizona in the 2011 CVS Caremark All Kids Can CREATE exhibit (you can see all of the winners here). Its goal is to show people the impact art can have on the lives of kids and young adults with and without disabilities.
"Alexis's painting is beautiful but the thing about art is that it's about the process, not simply the product," says Dawn Smiddy, the educational specialist who's Alexis's teacher. "The act of making something can be a reward in and of itself. I work with kids who have low academic skills because of multiple disabilities, and for some it's just about rolling balls of clay and making little snakes. They feel so good about that."
Here's what the young artist had to say:
How old were you when you first started drawing?
I was about three years old. I used to make drawings and put them up in my room.
What are your favorite mediums to work with?
Crayons, paint and markers!
Can you tell me a little bit more about your Day At The Beach painting?
I've never been to the beach, but I imagine that's what it would be like. I included pieces of glass and seashells, and I choose the colors—I can see them.
What's your next painting going to be, do you think?
The colors of the rainbow! I like to draw rainbows.
What do you do in your spare time?
Listen to music and hang out with friends.
What would you like to do someday when you're older?
I don't know! Half of the time I like to draw, and a lot of the time I like to write.
What words of advice do you have for parents of kids with visual or other impairments?
Just keep encouraging kids to use their imagination. Every kid has a good imagination.
Great advice! Lately, Max is into painting. He particularly enjoys bringing home styrofoam cups and bowls from ice-cream shops and painting them purple, a whole new genre of art. Someday, I am sure, his styrofoam pieces will be sold for millions in art galleries.
What sort of creations is your child into these days?
This is one of a series of posts sponsored by CVS Caremark All Kids Can, a commitment to making life better for children with disabilities. "Like" them on Facebook!