Monthly Mentor

Matthew Neylon (July)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Matthew is a graduate of the 2017 NAEA School for Art Leaders and cofounder of CONNECT, an organization that connects art teachers from independent schools around Atlanta with resources and relationships to excel and thrive. He has presented to hundreds of educators and artists annually, on various topics including wellness through the arts, trauma-informed arts education, storytelling, leadership, STEAM/art integration, and curriculum design. Click "GO" to read his full bio.



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« Artist Justin Valenti  | Main | Artist-As-Teacher Balance: Finding the Time to Create  »

September 18, 2019

VisAbility Art Lab, Rockville, MD

By Benjamin Tellie

Justin Valenti (see previous post) had a showing of his work at VisAbility Art Lab in Rockville, MD on August 30. This was an open studio night for VisAbility Art Lab Artists. According to their website, “The VisAbility Art Lab is a supported art studio for emerging adult artists with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities who have a strong interest in making art part of their professional careers.” VisAbility does a wonderful job setting up a safe and comfortable space that includes all artists no matter their disability. Artist’s are able to work comfortably at their own pace and rhythm, creating things of interest to them.

When I entered the Art Lab building, the scene was bursting with energy with many people and VisAbility Lab artists to talk to about their work. A young VisAbility Art Lab artist took me over to his work to show me what he had done. Ceramic cups surrounded by paintings of abstract forms and shapes that held a great deal of emotion and feeling. I was very impressed. I had the pleasure of seeing all of Justin’s wonderful work here and the work of many other artists. 

Here are some images of the show below.

Photo 1_Justin Valenti next to his artwork, Beagle Illustration, Digital Media, 2018.

Photo 2Visability Art Lab Gallery

Photo 3Various student artwork

Photo 4Various student artwork

Photo 5Various student artwork

To see more of Justin’s work and the work of other VisAbility Art Lab artists please visit:  VisAbility Art Lab Gallery

Need more information about teaching students with disabilities? Here are some of Justin’s picks: 


NAEA resources:

Disability Studies in Art Education (DSAE)

NAEA Position Statement on Art Educators with Disabilities

Successful Inclusion of Special Needs Students: Effective Mainstreaming for the Visual Arts Classroom

 - BT


Elaine Parks

Thank you for the nice write up about our program. We are thankful that you could join us for our Open Studio.

Ben Tellie

You're welcome, Elaine! It was a fantastic show and I am so glad that I could attend the Open Studio. I look forward to more upcoming events.

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