About the Artist:
Donald Simon, is a 26 year old non-verbal artist, who resides with his family in Annadale, Staten Island. Donald was diagnosed with autism at 23 months in 1994. Later that same year, Donald’s family co-founded the New Child Learning Institute, NY’s premiere school for children with autism. Donald attended NYCLI for over 19 years, where he received an excellent education and an introduction to art, which was always one of his favorite subjects. Donald was taught to draw a number of objects using the technology of Applied Behavior Analysis. He continues to revisit these objects in his current work.
In 2013, Donald graduated from NYCLI at the age of 21 and transitioned into an individualized program that is both home based, and also includes community integration. This program, Self Direction, has allowed Donald to pursue his interest in art through private classes with teaching artist, Janice Patrignani. Janice has introduced many new techniques to Donald, which include: sculpture, painting, pastels, collage, and a layering technique that Donald is especially fond of.
Donald has created many beautiful pieces that bring his family and friends much joy. He has presented two previous Art Shows that have attracted many hundreds of people and resulted in over 100 art sales. Donald’s mother, Donna Maxon, says, “I am so happy and proud that Donald’s works is displayed in so many homes and businesses, and serves as inspiration that communication does not always need words, and that all things are possible with love and dedication.”
Donald was recently featured in a viral video that captured a kind-hearted barista, Bryan Lara, who is dancing with him to a Lady Gaga tune at a local Dunkin Donuts. This video, which Maxon has named, “Thumbs Up for Human Kindness,” has reached an international audience of many million people through the social media shares and the many media outlets that have covered this story, including: NY1, 1010WINS, Popsugar, FoxNews. CBS, NY Post, Huffington Post, and others.
All are invited to attend the Human Kindness Show Opening event at the Pride Center of Staten Island, scheduled for Saturday, February 9th 7:00-9:00PM, where Donald will be available to pose for photos and meet with guests.
Donald will be donating all proceeds from the Human Kindness show to the PRIDE Center of Staten Island in support of the LGBTQIA community and the many wonderful programs offered through the Center. The show will be on exhibit through February, by appointment at the Pride Center of Staten Island: 25 Victory Blvd, SI, NY 10301. Please call Steven Wakeman 718.808.1363 for more information.