Pantings and drawings curated in the Blue Ribbon art showcase

Community Spotlight: Youth Artists on the Spectrum

Self-portrait painting of Max Miller
Max Miller. Image courtesy of the artist.
The Wonderscape space displaying artworks
The brand new Wonderscape space, located in the lower level of the Martin Building.

The exhibition in the Wonderscape features works of art (watercolor, photography, sculpture, and more) by 25 youth artists and three adults who are on the autism spectrum. The purpose of the show is to celebrate the artists, as well as to help educate others about young people who have autism. Max says it best:

"Art connects us all. It binds us as human beings. It has no boundaries. You can visit any museum in any part of the world and you’ll find art from a moment in history. What do you see? Pictures of food, pets, families, events, landscapes—an object that was important to that artist at that moment. Some of the artwork may have been discovered in a ruin. Was it a child’s handiwork or trained artist? And does that matter?

There’s a saying that we are all born artists until someone tells us that we’re not. The art on display here has the common denominator of a shared diagnosis and that diagnosis of being neurodiverse is on a spectrum. Everyone is different. My friends in the show are generally viewed from diagnosis first, person second or they have to manage their lives through the context of autism, but right now, at this moment, they are artists."

And about the Blue Ribbon artists, Max says:

"I created this show as a way to showcase the talents of my ASD friends, to give them a chance to have their art displayed, their voices heard, and to feel proud of their accomplishments. Art saved my life. When I couldn’t speak, I drew pictures to get what I needed. When I had strong emotions, I drew them because I couldn’t verbalize them. When my art was displayed for the first time, right here at the Denver Art Museum, my life changed. I was no longer Max, the autistic kid. I was Max, the artist. I felt seen for the very first time. I felt valid. It inspired me to share that experience with others."