Hilltop Happenings

Exhibition Highlights Special Works of 'Artfully Abled' Creators Apr. 29

Zachary Brooks proudly displays his twin brother Jack's artwork.

SUMMIT, NJ - Artwork from children and young adults in surrounding communities, all of whom are affected by autism, will be on display April 29, from 5 - 8 p.m., at MONDO. The exhibition, curated by 14 year-old Zachary Brooks of Summit, is entitled "Artfully Abled" and will be held in an 'open house' style.

While the artwork will not be for sale, donations will be accepted.

Brooks' twin brother Jack will be one of the creators showcased with Zachary -- inspired by his brother -- continuing to bring autism awareness to the community with businesses, organizations and in schools. In 2014, Zachary was named a 'Garden State Seeds of Hope Award' recipient by NJ Monthly magazine. The award, bestowed annually on five individuals, recognizes volunteerism, and Zachary is the youngest recipient to date.

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Zachary recognized his brother's love for drawing and painting, which gave him the idea for the art show. Jack will draw and paint for hours, and Zachary recognized not only Jack's talent, but how much he enjoyed it, expressed himself and how peaceful Jack is when creating his art. Zachary started thinking about how therapeutic art is for all individuals and wanted to present the talents of those on the spectrum.

Works have been received from students in the Summit school system as well as Park Lake School in Rockaway, EPIC in Paramus, ECLC in Chatham, Crossroads in Westfield and New Beginnings in Fairfield, and include paintings and drawings, sculptures and even beautiful paper flowers.

The schools, students and their families are excited about this opportunity to shine and open some folks' eyes and minds to the talents of the young artists. For his part, Zachary hopes the event will enlighten people, helping them to remember that a strong and caring community needs to embrace differences, be patient, and be kind to one another.

MONDO is located at 426 Springfield Avenue. 

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