As an autistic person, you may feel conflicting ways about your art and how it relates to your autism. On the one hand, your autism has enhanced your talents by giving you a better eye for detail, a creative streak, and a total devotion to your practice. But, there are still biases and prejudices in the business and art world that are preventing you from succeeding.
You need resources for artists living with autism to make the most of your career. These organizations offer exposure, career development opportunities, and even fellowship for emerging artists. The best part? They all will recognize your innate talents. They won’t jump to conclusions about your abilities based on your autism diagnosis.
We all know that the art world is full of artists and musicians with autism, and you could be the next one. Of course, you’re an artist for the love of the art, but you deserve the opportunity for your work to be seen and compensated for as well. Keep reading to discover some resources that help break down barriers to the art world for people living with disabilities.
KindTree is a nonprofit organization that offers support, services, and information. They provide art, education, and community. If you’re just becoming interested in art, you can sign up for one of their classes.
They also provide an artist guild for autistic artists to showcase their work. There’s no fee involved, simply submit your artwork through their website to be considered.
Once you’re in the guild, you’re eligible for galleries and shows, and they may even promote your artwork through the use of note cards and prints. It’s a great opportunity for exposure and to make your first few artwork sales.
They accept submissions in a wide range of mediums, including painting, drawing, sculpture, poetry, and many more! Since it costs nothing to join, it’s a great guild to be a part of while continuing to promote your work elsewhere. Their website includes a page of current artists so you can take a look at who you’ll be in a community with.
2. Museum of Special Art
The Museum of Special Art offers educational outreach and career development opportunities for artists living with disabilities. They even make an effort to archive the work by the artists so that future generations can enjoy them.
By contacting them, you can receive mentorship from the museum. They will help you maintain high quality, preserve, and gain access to other museums and galleries for showing. They also provide classes for marketing in the arts, professional framing, and community engagement. Check out their inclusive programing for more.
3. Special Bridge
Every artist needs their support system and their community. Special Bridge offers the opportunity to make connections and lasting friendships with other adults with disabilities through their unique matching system on our website (mobile app coming soon!).
Discover people with interests and challenges similar to yours through the private messaging system. The website even offers forums for general discussion and support.
An artist faces a lot of challenges in their career, and it’s important to have people who are understanding and can lend an ear or advice if need be. Special Bridge can offer that community even if you aren’t meeting other adults with autism in person.
4. Merchant Street Art Gallery
Merchant Street Art Gallery, located in Kankakee, IL, is an art gallery devoted to the professional development of artists on the autism spectrum. They provide training, resources, showing opportunities, and community for their artists.
The gallery accepts submissions from artists all across the country. They currently host artists working in mediums ranging in paint, wood, video, glass, clay, and more. It’s one of three art galleries in the U.S. that specifically shows the artwork of artists with autism. They also house an art studio for classes, workshops, art therapy, and community events.
You can submit artwork for consideration every three months. Once accepted, you’ll even have the opportunity to sell your artwork via their website.
Be sure to check out their artists’ page to see some of the amazing work that’s being shared at Merchant Street Art Gallery.
5. Autism Creatives Collective
The Autism Creatives Collective is a community of artists, writers, and musicians with autism. They use a wide definition of “creativity,” and anyone who belongs under that category belongs with them.
They foster opportunities to find jobs, careers, projects, and showings for people with autism by creating partnerships with employers and galleries. Their goals are to provide mutual support, promote work, identify opportunities to share art, establish an online reputation for their artists, and develop partnerships within creative industries.
By visiting their website, you can discover the success of many of their current members through the opportunities they provide. You can also use their site to be connected to their artists’ personal sites if you’re interested in booking them for a gig or making an artistic purchase.
Resources for Artists
With the right resources for artists, mentorship, gig and gallery opportunities, and community, you can thrive as an artist with autism. Look for organizations that celebrate your unique gifts and recognize the importance of offering opportunities to people living with disabilities. You never know when your big break is right around the corner.
Are you curious about more ways to progress your career as an autistic person? Do you want more advice about fostering a supportive community for yourself with like-minded individuals? Check out our blog for more helpful articles.