Gallery show raises awareness

CARLSBAD — A unique five-day art show at the 10Hr Art Gallery mixed works of professional artists, TERI developmentally challenged students, and local school children to raise funds for TERI Campus of Life arts program June 26 to June 30. The “Hope for the Future” exhibit was held at the temporary gallery located at the Carlsbad Village Faire. Four permanent art galleries are also located there. All were part of the Thursdays on the Coast art walk June 28.

The gallery fundraiser opened viewers’ eyes to the creative expression of artists including TERI developmentally challenged students. Most TERI students have limited verbal skills. Art is a key way they can express themselves.

“It shows what a mind can do,” Cheryl Ehlers, art director and exhibit coordinator, said. “Art is an avenue of communication.”

Art director Cheryl Ehlers in front of artwork by TERI developmentally challenged students. Photo by Promise Yee

Among the 65 works on display were an animated 400-pound wood lion, riveted metal hearts, and a variety of paintings.

“We’re trying to promote awareness,” Ehlers said. “Art is a way of pulling joy out of us. Putting a smile on our face.”

“The biggest focus is for people to become aware of the value of art,” Ehlers added. “What it can do for all walks of life.”

Some notable pieces among the seven works by TERI students were a detailed colored pencil drawing of Mickey Mouse drawn from memory, a bright yellow textile and paint composition, and a sea blue 3-D Mod Podge mobile.

“It moves with time and gravity,” Ehlers said. “There are oceans and people swimming. I can’t get adults to think like that.”

TERI Campus of Life helps children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.

“The arts program is an unfunded enrichment activity that we’re constantly trying to keep going,” Phillip Sammuli, development manager of TERI Campus of Life, said. “It’s therapy and a way for students to express themselves. It gives them a voice.”

Sammuli said that students are additionally motivated to create artwork when they know it will be displayed.

“The process of doing artwork and displaying it helps them as a whole to be happy,” Sammuli said. “It helps the whole process of everything else we do. Their disabilities aren’t who they are.”

He added that partnerships with artists, businesses and nonprofit groups have enabled students’ artwork to be shown regularly.

The Off Track Gallery in Encinitas will host a reception for an exhibit of TERI student artwork Aug. 11.

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  1. Thank you for allowing us to share “Art Awareness” and its value with the community.

  2. It was a privilege to be part of this 10-hr gallery. many of the artist were on hand to explain the journey of their one-of-a-kind pieces of art. While for those without a voice the art said it all. Amazing!

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