Franklin Art Scene shines a light on autism during National Awareness Month

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Coinciding with National Autism Awareness Month, Franklin Art Scene will feature two artists with autism–among a of other local artists–during the April edition of the monthly art crawl on Friday, April 7 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Sarah E. Vaughn is a Nashville-based artist on the autism spectrum, who specializes in trompe l’oeil style pencil drawings and abstract paintings. Despite having no formal training, Vaughn has a diverse background in the arts. She is a published composer and holds a Master of Music degree. At the age of 46, she began exploring an interest in the visual arts, which she now embraces as her primary means of expression.

Diagnosed with moderately severe autism with intellectual disabilities and a severe speech and language disorder at just three years old, Grace Walker Goad began painting at the age of four. Because autism subtly affects the muscle tone of portions of her grasp, her work is largely abstract. Yet, her advanced use of color and composition has been lauded and featured on ABC’s “The View,” as well as on Al Jeezera America, Fox Business News and in The New York Times.

Both Vaughn and Goad will be featured at Jack Yacoubian Jewelers, located at 300 Public Square. The Art Scene Trolley– sponsored by Genesis of Cool Springs–will run throughout the 16-block historic downtown district, allowing art lovers to hop on and off at the participating locations, including:

  • Bagbey House, located at 134 4th Ave N, will showcase photographer Heather Solima, who finds children and babies to be magical, which she believes makes her job extra special.
  • Danita’s Children, located at 201 5th Ave S, will showcase the work of Ashley DuRard, a junior at Christ Presbyterian Academy. Recently awarded the prestigious Regional Golden Key Award by the Scholastic Art Awards, Ashley is currently working on projects of orphaned and impoverished children who are part of Danita’s Children/Hope for Haiti Children’s Center.
  • Early’s Honey Stand, located at 209 East Main St, will showcase paintings by Bailey Sutherland.
  • Located at 435 Main St, Finnleys will feature pop art by Michael Lax, whose work is humorous, ironic, critical, and ostensibly nonsensical, yet it challenges artistic traditions and illuminates.
  • Gallery 202, located at 202 2nd Ave S, will host local artist Chris Smith. She draws inspiration from her life experience, found objects, images in her creative mind, ideas from colleagues and sometimes dreams. Chris works with a wide array of media and technique, and her broad skills paired with bold experimentation yields courageous pieces that elicit joy, explore emotion and excites our senses.
  • The Historic Franklin Presbyterian Church, located at 435 Main St, will showcase the works of Kofi Sarfo-Kantanka and Olasubomi Bashorun. Kofi is best known for his photo-realistic charcoal portraits. Unable to afford crayons and colored pencils when growing up in Ghana, he had a keen interest in charcoal. He is currently training to be a Physician at Meharry Medical College. As an artist, his choice of medium still remains charcoal and mixed media. In addition to creating beautiful original work, Olasubomi teaches art, instructs ballroom dancing and hosts creative workshops. He believes everyone should create in some way.
  • Hope Church, at 137 4th Ave S, will feature mixed media artist Amanda Kiser, who loves to take the elements of God’s natural beauty in nature and incorporate them into her paintings.
  • Imaginebox Emporium, located at  311 North Margin Street, will feature original illustrations by Cory Basil. His work is created using multiple mediums, including watercolor, oil and gauche. In addition to his various original sculpture works, high-quality art prints, and published works of literature and poetry, he also creates fully unique and reflective commissioned pieces.
  • Landmark Bank, located at 198 E Main St., will feature Suzanne LeBeau, who enjoys creating acrylic abstracts and experimental art with upcycled items. By day, LeBeau is an educational assistant in a special needs classroom.
  • Parks Realty, located at 415 Main St, will highlight mixed media artist Essence DeVonne.  She started her own company– TheArtofJuly19– donating a portion of the proceeds from her paintings towards funding mission trips.
  • Taziki’s, at 428 Main St, will feature Meredith Martin, who loves to create art that helps capture cherished memories.
  • The Cellar On Main, located at 324 Main St, will host artist Laura Chenicek. She received a M.F.A. in painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is a past participant in the highly prestigious Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program.
  • The Williamson County Visitor Center, located at 400 Main St, will showcase d. marlene jewelry by Deanna Eller-Goodin. Behind each piece of d. Marlene jewelry is the relationship between classic sophistication and modern sensibility. Always in search of the original hidden gems in life, the d. Marlene woman desires a sophisticated aesthetic with modern appeal, for which the brand has developed a loyal following.
  • Located at 517 Church Street, Wellspring Financial Solutions will highlight the work of Shon Hudspeth, who views every day as art and a chance to reveal beauty to people, through a gesture or by translating it to canvas.
  • Williamson County Archives, located at 611 W Main St, will feature Lynn Noga, a certified Zentangle teacher. Zentangle is a relaxing method of drawing that can be done by anyone and has helped many who thought they couldn’t draw to become creative and artistic. She will demonstrate the technique during Art Scene.