Studio Montclair And Wae Center Project Collaborate on ‘Student Portrait Project’

Candace Cruickshank: Seen not Heard, Marker on paper

Montclair, NJ – Studio Montclair and the WAE Center have collaborated on a portrait project with some of their students. The Studio Montclair (SMI)/WAE Center, Student Portrait Project, used the effectiveness of portrait drawing as an artistic tool for adults with developmental disabilities. Artists with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have found multiple benefits in this project, including improved communication, social skills, and artistry.

Scott Gilson: After Hayao Miyazaki, Acrylic on canvas

The WAE Center and SMI have shared a long and fruitful relationship, with this exhibit being the first of its kind. Incentivized by the Covid Pandemic and yearning for ways to bring artists together and out into the community, the Portrait Project emerged in 2020 as the means to do just that.

Kristen I: Portrait of Zoom Class, China marker

SMI and WAE Center instructors recognized that visual arts provide an outlet for adults with IDD or ASD. This project opened space for each artist to make significant contributions by creating self-portrayals. Each organization empowered the creative process by introducing portraiture styles resonant with each student. The instructors throughout this project provided an environment of support and empowerment to each artist as their project developed. SMI/WAE Center believes self-portraits are critical in encouraging students to gain further insight into their lives and surroundings.

Janet B: Janet, Monoprint

There are 37 students who participated in the portraiture project.

The foundational theme for this project used iconic artists as inspiration for self-portraits. The artists referenced for this project were Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Vincent Van Gogh, Yayoi Kusama, Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Cindy Sherman. These artists throughout history used self-portraiture as an underpinning of their work.


Exhibition Dates: July 30th – August 31st, 2021.
Gallery: 127 Bloomfield Ave. Montclair, N.J.
Virtual Gallery:
Gallery Hours: by Appointment only, please

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