Autism awareness events to be held in Gravesend

PUBLISHED: 16:30 13 February 2018

Grace Garford, 8 and Ethan Garford, 9.

Grace Garford, 8 and Ethan Garford, 9.


Children on the autistic spectrum are invited to take part in an Art of Autism exhibition, organised by the National Autistic Society Dartford and Gravesham branch.

Previous exhibitions. Picture: Mandy GarfordPrevious exhibitions. Picture: Mandy Garford

The artwork will be displayed at the St Andrew’s Art Centre in Gravesend.

Chairperson of the society, Mandy Garford, said: “I am hopeful that those with low self-esteem or lack of confidence will become more confident in themselves when their work is valued and displayed in the exhibition.

“At the last exhibition, one piece of feedback I had was from a parent of a child who had taken part.

“This child was so anxious that he didn’t speak to anyone except at home, however, a breakthrough happened when he proceeded to tell his dentist all about his work being displayed at the art exhibition.

“He was so proud of himself, rightly so, and his confidence had been built to such an extent that he felt able to speak.”

Gravesham Arts sponsored artist of the year, Matt McCloud, will also be taking part, allowing those on the autistic spectrum, young or old, to decorate a huge 10 foot chrysalis.

He said: “The chrysalis represents the journey of those on the autistic spectrum.

“The difficulties they can face expressing themselves and feeling isolated from the world.

“With this exhibition we hope that they will grow and flourish, showing Gravesham the beauty that lies within.”

People of all ages can join the crew onboard the LV21 at St Andrew’s Quay, to explore the ship and unleash their creativity by helping to build sculptural artworks for the display, using LEGO.

Local poet Elizabeth Colley will be leading a poetry writing area over the weekend, where those attending can have a chance to try their hand at poetry.

The weekend is designed to kick off World Autism Awareness week, and is expected to see MP Adam Holloway and Mayor Harold Caske attend.

The exhibition will run from March 23 (for school visits) and open to the public on the weekend of March 24 - 25, from 10-4pm.

All schools in the local area have been invited, and artwork or creations can also be done at home.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Gravesend Reporter. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Gravesend Reporter