MEET OUR MAKERS
My name is Alex Arciniega and I currently teach art at Wooster High School. I have always had a passion for the arts and a longing to create. If ever I am out of my creative mindset for too long, a hole starts to fill my spirit. My decision to become a teacher was influenced by a professor I had in college. This professor helped me tap into who I was as an artist and made me realize that I didn’t have to paint like or be like anyone else. The way I expressed myself was up to me and it didn’t matter what anyone else thought because everyone perceives the world differently and that is ok. I thought that if I could make one person feel that way about art, then it was worth it to try.
With the pressures of high performance on standardized testing, there has been a decrease in the certainty of the funding for art in education. A common idea in the education system is that subjects such as Math, Science, and English should take precedence over the arts. However, research shows that taking art classes can help students develop skills that are sought after in the work place. Skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity are crucial for students to learn and continue learning throughout their education in order to be successful after they graduate.
With less and less art being offered in the public school system, I believe it is important to offer opportunities for students and people throughout the community to create in a variety of ways. These opportunities allow individuals to be a part of something that makes a positive impact on themselves while also offering services to others.
Western Nevada College
University of Nevada
Sierra Nevada College
Hi! My name is Ashleigh Fogal. I am sixteen years old. I’ve been singing and drawing for as long as I can remember, and I recently taught myself how to play guitar and piano.
In 7th grade, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of high-functioning Autism. Last March, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I’m still trying to deal with both, but I’m not going to let MS and Asperger’s get in the way of what I love. I want to learn how to play violin, and after I graduate high school, I want to move to England and go to a creative writing college. I hope to become a published author and poet.
My name is Spencer Allen. Over the years I studied photography, motion picture direction, painting, ceramics, sculpture and computer aided design. Through my studies, I came to believe that art nourishes the roots of society and is essential to the positive development of humanity. I believe that art both reflects and shapes the world around us. Studying and practicing art stimulates creativity and develops independent thinking and problem solving skills. I believe these skills are critical for a world greatly in need of innovative thinking.
For many years, I contemplated how art can best make lasting change for our society, and ease the suffering of people, while being able to sustain myself using the principle of right livelihood. The answer became clear for me ,while studying at Southern Oregon University, when I met a young woman with Down syndrome named Eliza Schaff. Eliza was taking an intro to ceramics, as a non-admit student, when the university removed her from the class, citing her intellectual inability to participate in a college level course. After obtaining my Masters of Fine Arts, I promised Eliza’s family that I would work to secure opportunities in the arts for those with disabilities. I began formal training at the graduate level in Autism Studies and Developmental Disorders and worked to accumulate experience in this field. I have worked with multiple populations of people with disabilities from self-contained elementary school classrooms to adult group homes. Working with these individuals has made me realize how valuable alternative methods of finding and developing a person’s potential can be for positively impacting their lives. All human beings have the same basic need to lead meaningful and productive lives, and person by person the additional potential realized improves our world and benefits us all.
Building on these two fields of study, I have set out to create training and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, using art and design principles, to produce ecologically and ergonomically appropriate products for other persons with disabilities, in an integrated environment, that produces competitive wages.
Brooks Institute of Photography
Kootenay School of the Arts
B.S. Studio Art: Emphasis Ceramics
Southern Oregon University
University of Tulsa
M.A. Autism Studies and Developmental Disorders
University of Texas Permian Basin (expected graduation 2016)
“HI!! My name is Connor, I am 22 and although born with cerebral palsy, it hasn’t stopped me from doing what I love to do. I love to paint, snow ski, run marathons and sky dive. Yes, I said sky dive!!!! My goal is to bring awareness to the world about all types of disabilities. I want people to know that disabled people want & deserve to be treated just like you.
When I was brought home to my family as a baby, my parents were told I would never function and that my life would revolve around acute full-time care due to my Cerebral Palsy. CAT scans showed that a major portion of my brain was missing. Six months after a 2nd scan was taken, it showed a miracle had occurred, my brain…completely whole.
In the years following, I became an avid skier, using a modified device that would allow me to not just ski, but to show off a little. Photos exist of me in full flight over jumps on snowy mountainsides. But it’s not just my ability to adapt and excel that makes this young man unique…everything I have, I work for. My parents have taught me the valuable lesson of achieving through perseverance and effort.
I have taken on the craft of painting…primarily landscapes and the occasional portrait of the legend Bob Marley. You can support my endeavors by visiting my site http://www.mylownv.com/ and purchasing a print or commissioning an original painting.