At 6 pm on Friday May 10th 2013 the ECIP art exhibition opened at the Grenada National Museum. Thirty five (35) paintings, the art work of children with special needs, were put on display and offered for sale by a bidding process. By 8pm, on the exhibition’s opening day, all thirty-five of the paintings had been sold. The exhibition continues at the museum until May 17, where all of the art work including some of the volunteers’ pieces would remain on display.
Most of the people attending the show’s opening day, including myself, were both surprised and highly impressed with the quality of the art work created by the children. But then again, art is supposed to be an expression to be nurtured by anyone who is given the opportunity to be creative.
The St. Georges University Grand- Anse Playgroup (GAP) began the (ECIP) Early Childhood Intervention Program in 2010. The program aims specifically at the development of children, appx ages 2-8 years old, with special needs. A customized play based therapeutic program has been developed for the children that is run by volunteers who are trained by the administrative team at GAP. The art work displayed at the exhibition was done by the program’s children. The funds raised from the sale of the art would be used for the purchase of occupational therapy equipment for the on going program.
As an invited guest, I want to express my admiration, and offer my congratulations to Tammy Martin, Sacha Lewis, Stacey Byer, the other ECIP volunteers, parents, friends, Angus Martin and the museum staff, for making the event a rollicking success. I understand that the live band, and the food and drinks that we enjoyed were all provided by generous donors, free of charge. The band played lively music, and the children enjoyed themselves, as they danced enthusiastically and responded to the festive activities like children from anywhere would. It was nice to see the visible outpouring of care and affection for this wonderful effort by all concerned.
For far too long we have ignored and even scorned people who we deem to fall short mentally or physically, on our society’s normalcy scale.
This art exhibition is palpable proof that with a little effort and some open mindedness, we can cultivate and bring to the fore latent talents that may have been lying idle without much hope of being provided with requisite ventilation.
The stars of the ECIP exhibition were indeed the young special needs children. The girls and boys, who by their impressive effort, produced credible works of art, at the first opportunity they were given to do so. They are, in my opinion, well on the way towards proving that they deserve to be referred to in the future, as just children.