The Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, who died Aug. 4, 1875 at age 70 is remembered for his remarkable imagination and gift for storytelling which produced a selection of fairy tales, all ending with an important lesson, which are still treasured today. Translated into more than 125 languages, some of his favorite works include "The Little Mermaid," "The Snow Queen," "The Ugly Duckling," "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "The Nightingale."
What is most amazing of all, the great author of so many fantastic fairy tales is also thought to have had autism. Hans is further proof that the arts and autism share an important outlet for expression and personal growth.
Autism is a topic that receives far too little discussion. On Wednesday, it will be a topic on the lips of many, and with good reason, for a good cause to raise money for research, awareness and education at the 2014 Art for Autism event.
"This is an exciting second annual event with an important purpose to let others know the numbers of people with autism has risen dramatically," said Linda Eisenhauer, Art for Autism committee member.
The Art for Autism event described by Eisenhauer is from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Lighthouse Restaurant in Cedar Lake. It will feature local and nationally known artists who have autism or Aspergers syndrome. Their art will be available for purchase through both live and silent auctions. Hors d'oeuvres and wine will be served along with the option of a cash bar. Tickets are $45 and are available by calling the center at (219) 662-1311, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Reservations are required. I'm told the event's celebrity auctioneer will be State Representative Rick Neimeyer.
Two guest artists will be appearing at the event. Katie Levin is well-known by her fans for her brilliant and unique photography. Trent Altman is the creator of the United Nations Autism Awareness Stamp and works in three dimensional oils.
"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way … things I had no words for," said Trent, using his favorite quote from Georgia O'Keefe.
All proceeds from this event will be used to help local families living with autism and 50 percent of all sales are given back to the individual artists. Proceeds benefit local families dealing with autism and the artists themselves through the work of MAAP Services for Autism & Aspergers Syndrome, the host organization for this week's event. With an office in Crown Point, the group helps families of individuals within the autism spectrum and the professionals who work with them with their website aspergersyndrome.org, distributing written information, providing referrals, conferences and forums to share autism knowledge. The head of the organization is Susan J. Moreno, CEO and founder, who has written several books and spoken internationally. This organization provides services for both Lake and Porter Counties and is a fully accredited non-profit organization.