Mailman Center Hosts Award Program for Artistic Children with Disabilities

The Mailman Center for Child Development recently hosted the 18th annual ArtAbilities Award Ceremony honoring the artistic work of children with disabilities in Miami-Dade County public schools.

The evening featured an exhibition of student artwork, entertainment by the Miami Beach Senior High School Acoustic Rock Ensemble, face painting and dinner. The culmination of the May 5 event was an award ceremony in which 22 talented artists received an art medal and an Amazon gift card, plus additional prizes and accolades from families and friends. The children and their families were visibly happy and proud.

“We enjoyed the evening a lot and thank you for your support of our kids,” said one family member.

“I’m so proud that my daughter’s work was selected,” said another. “I have been encouraging her drawing.”

Through a partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ Art Department, new artworks created by children in special education programs, between the ages of 5 and 21, are selected. Teachers throughout the county select the students’ best work, which is then juried by the ArtAbilities committee.

“Through their participation in ArtAbilities, children with disabilities discover their talents, experience successful competition and contribute to the enrichment of our visual environment,” said F. Daniel Armstrong, Ph.D., professor and Executive Vice Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Director of the Mailman Center.

“ArtAbilities serves as a mechanism to reveal and highlight the artistic abilities of children who are so often singled out for their limitations,” he said.

In 2012, the ArtAbilities Art Collection was exhibited at Miami International Airport along the walls from Concourse D to Concourse E. By promoting the students’ artistry, ArtAbilities helps to overturn negative stereotypes of disabilities and create a new vision of independence and full access to community life.

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