Celebrating the Unusual Artistic Ability of Children with Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia
About Brian Ayers and the History of the ExhibitionThe roots of the Brian Ayers Memorial Art Exhibition go back to a day in 1988 when a 14-year old boy named Jason, who had severe dyslexia, became so frustrated about his school situation that he picked up a chair and threw it across the school library.
Jason was a talented artist, so Avery County Schools, a rural school district in the mountains of North Carolina, hired a local art therapist to work one-on-one with Jason twice each week. Despite his severe problems with reading and spelling, Jason successfully completed high school, developing his artistic skills along the way. He subsequently received a degree in commercial art from a local community college.
Brian Ayers was the other dyslexic student to receive one-on-one art instruction. Although Brian produced some beautiful artwork during the one-on-one sessions, his difficulties with reading and extreme problems with spelling persisted, and Brian dropped out of high school. When Brian's grandfather and caretaker Semie Mosely, the maker of the Mosrite electric guitar, moved his factory from Jonas Ridge, North Carolina to Arkansas, Brian's life became unmoored. Brian died at the age of 19 in 1994 as a result of an accidental alcohol overdose.
The first Brian Ayers Memorial Art Exhibition was sponsored in 1994 by Appalachian State University's summer arts program, An Appalachian Summer. After a four-year hiatus, Boone Mall served as host for the exhibitions beginning in 1998 and became the exhibition sponsor in 2009, providing the funds for the artists' awards and other exhibition costs.
The 2015 exhibition will be on display at Center Court of Boone Mall from July 25th - September 13th, 2015. Ten artists whose works show special artistic merit will receive $50 awards.
If you know a talented young learning disabled or dyslexic artist, age 5 - 21, please encourage him or her to enter The Brian Ayers Memorial Art Exhibition. See the "Entry Form" for details about the exhibition. Children with autism may also enter the exhibition. Entry deadline is July 17th
The consistently outstanding quality of the artwork on display at The Brian Ayers Memorial Art Exhibition demonstrates the unusual artistic ability of children with learning disabilities and dyslexia. These are young people well deserving of celebration.
Meredith Golden, Curator
The Brian Ayers Memorial Art Exhibition