November 2, 2015
Students from the Burkhart Center for Autism Education & Research at Texas Tech University will be at the First Friday Art Trail this week, selling Christmas cards, ornaments, jewelry and canvas art.
This is the third year students from the Burkhart Transition Academy will sell their works downtown. Artist Chris Ramos, who also is the social skills instructor for the Transition Academy, said providing resources for the students to create art, including the expertise of art teacher Maggie Vasquez, is a valuable part of their mission.
“All the students have great pride in their final art piece,” he said. “Personally, my art time and creativity is my sanctuary and escape. I hope our students will forever use art as a positive outlet for creativity.”
The students will be at the art trail selling their artwork, interacting with buyers and explaining their work. All the money raised will go back into the art program for future projects. Many people with ASD use art to express themselves, and it is a good way to expand the students’ confidence and help advance their skills.
The students will be at McPherson Cellars, 1615 Texas Ave., where Ramos displays his work. The First Friday Art Trail begins at 6:30 p.m. Interested buyers can contact the Burkhart Center to peruse the art or special order a piece.
In 2014, Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert Duncan and his wife, Terri, purchased a number of Burkhart artworks, all of which are displayed in their residence.
“We are absolutely delighted to have several pieces created by Burkhart Center student artists on display at the chancellor’s residence,” Terri Duncan said. “We are both huge fans of the Burkhart Center and the incredible work going on there every day. We have several paintings as well as a beautiful photo frame that we’re pleased to have as part of the art collection in our home. Their work is very meaningful to both of us.”
The Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research is part of the College of Education and is the premier center in Lubbock for research, education and assistance for families affected by autism.
Research at the center covers three major aspects: developing strategies for the preparation of teachers to meet the needs of students, examining ways to develop parent support networks and preparing individuals with autism as they transition from school to adult services.
The Transition Academy, the center’s flagship program, is home to about 15 teenagers and young adults who have an autism spectrum disorder. They come to campus Monday through Friday to learn job and life skills, including how to live independently, and many have jobs through partnerships with campus and community organization.
The Burkhart Center is named for Jim and Jere Lynn Burkhart in honor of their grandson Collin.