The USC Institute for Genetic Medicine Art Gallery in collaboration with the ENCOUNTER network of networks and other community activists hosted two weeks of activities in sites from East Los Angeles, through downtown, to West LA featuring honored guest, ChunHong Wang, Founder of the Beijing Creative Art Therapy Academy (CATA). Ms. Wong and fellow panelists received certificates of commendation from Business and Service Manager Rapid Response, Rosa Arcadia, City of LA Economic & Workforce development dept., State Assemblyman Gomez, and Councilmember Cedillo, pictured here on May 17 at the IGM Art Gallery. Photo courtesy of Mike Ibarra.
Outcomes of this series of events began with a gathering on May 10 at which the 30 individuals from Cannes, France, Dublin, Ireland, Beijing, China, North Carolina, San Diego and greater LA County met, many for the first time. Once self-organized, the group produced a holistic presentation of alternative and complementary approaches to Autism Spectrum Disorders at Abraham Lincoln High School’s 1000 seat auditorium on May 12. A presentation on Saturday, May 16, at the Duda Art Gallery in Marina del Rey demonstrated for public, private, nonprofit, faith-based, academic and media leaders the CATA vision and our complementary technology and creative art approaches here in LA.
On Sunday the artists of the IGM Art Gallery’s exhibition, Bionics: The Elements and Social Order, discussed how their art provides a framework within which this discussion can take place in an inclusive, noncompetitive, transparent and accountable atmosphere. The tensions between the individual and nature, the individual and institutions and how stress impacts individuals constituted artists Patrick Giles’, Mary T Duda’s, Ruben Zavela’s , Marcus Maria Jung’s and Raymond Carrillo’s presentations. They demonstrated that their exhibition is a tool to open discussion on navigating today’s profoundly changing world with a special focus on Neurodiversity and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). A panel discussion followed the artists’ presentation. Moderated by The Art of Autism Co- Founder, Debra Muzikar, panelists made evident the need to confront the daunting task of building new frameworks for conscious evolution. “Neurodiversity gives us an alternate way of looking at mental illness and developmental disabilities,” stated Muzikar. “Instead of seeing large portions of the population as suffering and needing cures, as a society, we must celebrate individual differences. We can harness the creativity of those who perceive the world in very different ways, while at the same time, we can provide families and individuals needed support and tools to become appreciated community contributors.” The Art of Autism is a collaborative of agencies, artists, poets, and entertainers.
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The two week series of events featuring Ms. ChunHong Wang resulted in members of the hosting team introducing Ms. Wang to Trade Tech Community College President, Larry Frank, at the College’s 90th Anniversary Celebration on May 21. That event featured a table demonstrating the tensegrity concepts and community mapping programs of ENCOUNTER Founder, TTC Architecture Professor, Marcela Oliva. On May 22, members of the team were invited to a performance and tour at El ARCA by President and CEO, John Menchaca who also serves as President of the Lincoln Hts. Chamber of Commerce.