Curtis is 28 years old and lives at home with his Mom, Dad, Gretchen the miniature dachshund and 26 alpacas! Curtis is very productive during the week. He goes to the David Lussier Art Gallery in Willington three days a week to create his artwork. David is an accomplish artist and writes this about Curtis –
I make my living as a professional artist; selling paintings in galleries, conducting outdoor workshops, holding classes in my studio and by attending plein air events around the country. Curt comes to work at the studio 3 days a week. He observes what is going on in a busy studio and absorbs the information like a sponge. On some occasions, Curtis will watch me paint a demonstration for students in a class. He enjoys it when other students are in the studio painting. He likes being a part of a working studio environment. He enjoys taking a break from his work to walk around and see what each student is working on. They in turn, like to walk over to see what Curt is working on. One example of Curt utilizing information given in a class is a day that I used a very specific color palette for my demonstration and later, looking at Curt’s work for the day, I saw that he was utilizing the exact same color palette in colored pencil that I was using for oil paints. Curtis processes what he learns in his own unique way that is personal yet universal. He sees the world in an abstract way and works with patterns and colors that vibrate on the paper. Curtis often likes to explore a subject by working in a series.
One day a week Curtis goes to the Creative Living Community of CT (CLCC) greenhouse located in Vernon, CT. He loves to fill trays with dirt, plant seeds and harvest the delicious micro greens. With the support of staff, Curtis delivers micro greens to some of CLCC’s customers.
On weekends during the summer, you might find Curtis at one of the local Farmer’s Market where he will sit and draw while hanging out with his mom, dad and some of the alpacas from the family farm – Round Hill Alpacas.
The early years –
Curtis was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. It was a time when few people talked about the disability of autism. Thank goodness there is much more awareness today! From the day Curtis was diagnosed, it has been a journey of discovery and interdependence among family and friends.
Curtis met some very special people including Cheryl and Debbie who blazed the trail in preschool and were our heroes of early intervention. While in preschool we never knew if Curt would hold a pencil, let alone become an artist one day. Curtis was among the first in our town of Coventry, Connecticut mainstreamed into the elementary public school setting. Curtis, Sarah, Aaron and Betsy were pioneers in teaching other children that we are all different and have a need to belong to our neighborhood community.
Because of their presence many whom they have grown up with at school will be better equipped to meet the world when they graduate. Curtis walked in procession with the high school class he grew up with in town on graduation day. Though he could not verbally express it, you could tell that he was very proud of his accomplishment. On graduation day our living room was filled with the artwork Curtis had created over several years. It inspired us to tell his story and share his designs through cards. It is also a way for us to give hope to other families who may just be getting diagnosed or struggling with the day to day struggles of this very complex, confusing and often frustrating disability.