Thursday, September 27, 2012
UNT autism center purchases artwork by 17-year-old Grant Manier
His eco-friendly artwork is influenced by his Asperger's Syndrome.
DENTON Discarded pages of magazines, unused strips of wallpaper, and Kleenex box prints are items that would typically be found in the garbage, but one young artist repurposes these items to make original works of art.
Grant Manier is a 17-year-old artist with autism. Manier’s art, made of recycled materials, was recently purchased by the UNT Art in Public Places program and will be placed inside the Kristin Farmer Autism Center, which officially opened its doors on September 19.
“We were wanting art that was welcoming and warm and inviting,” Autism Center Executive Director Kevin Callahan said. “[Art] that made people feel hopeful about being in this building.”
The Kristin Farmer Autism Center, a research and autism care facility, set aside one percent of its total budget for the purchase or commission of original art as part of the university’s Art in Public Places program.
The program, which started in 2009, consists of a committee made up of art professionals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, student representatives and UNT faculty members.
The committee meets with an advisory group from the specific site to discuss the space and the type of art they would like to see hanging on their walls, said Robert Milnes, dean of the College of Visual Arts and Design.
After the budget has been discussed, the committee then turns to the artist registry, a free online program where artists -- including professional artists, nonprofessional artists, and students -- can create a free profile to showcase their work. Their work is then considered for purchase for various projects around campus.
The program is also currently working on projects at Sage Hall, Willis Library, and Discovery Park, among others, said Victoria DeCuir, assistant director of exhibitions and collections for the UNT Art Gallery.
It is an organized and systematic way to continue to collect fine artworks for locations throughout UNT, DeCuir said.
For the center, artists who were either on the autism spectrum or had strong ties to autism were given preference thanks to the UNT committee and the VSA of Texas, a nonprofit advocacy organization focused on helping artists with disabilities.
Nearly a dozen original artworks were chosen from different artists for the center, and will soon be on display for the public.
Manier, along with his mother and manager Julie Coy, created a profile on the artist registry website.
The committee chose Manier’s original pieces, which focus on butterflies, said UNT Art Gallery Director Tracee Robertson.
“I think they’re inspiring,” Robertson said. “Grant’s dedication and vision and creativity are qualities that will benefit the center and its vision.”
Manier’s eco-friendly artwork was purchased for $6,000.
He said he would use the money to buy a new Xbox game system, invest some of the money into his art-making business, and help purchase a house for his mother.
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