Twenty-five-year-old Connor Thompson, an amateur photographer, is inspired by colors, designs and textures. He particularly enjoys using the macro setting on his digital camera to take close-up photos of nature: flowers and frogs, insects, blue herons and other birds native to Cape Cod.
For Connor, a young adult on the autism spectrum, photography is a way for him to express himself. He’s not alone.
Connor is among dozens of artists with autism whose work makes up the fourth-annual Through Our Eyes exhibit, an art show organized by the Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research and Treatment and held at the Museum of Work & Culture in Woonsocket. Check out some photos of the artwork in the exhibit.
In 2016, RI-CART was approached by Brain Week Rhode Island about participating in Brain Awareness Week, a campaign to increase awareness of brain research. Best and her colleagues came up with the idea for an exhibit after thinking about how important art can be as a means of communication for individuals with autism.
“We wanted to celebrate the abilities of individuals of autism,” said Carrie Best, project coordinator for RI-CART.
The show attracts artists from across the spectrum in terms of abilities, and is open to both children and adults and amateur artists as well as professionals. The exhibit is organized around a different theme each year; this year’s theme is “home.”
“It’s very broadly interpreted,” said Matthew Best, a Connecticut-based artist who curates the exhibit. “I really love how surprising the work is every year. I can never expect it.”
This year, Matthew Best and his colleagues received about 50 pieces of art from approximately 30 artists, both children and adults, based in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Every piece was included in this year’s show.