By Carol C. Neugent
The Haysville Historic Committee is hosting a free fundraising art show to raise autism awareness and to benefit David Hartley, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of three.
“The Spectrum of Pawsabilities: An Autism Awareness Show” features work by artists affected by autism. It opens Saturday at the Wire House Art Gallery located in the W.W. Haysville Village Historic Park on South Main and runs through May 25. Show hours are Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The exhibit is free but donations will be accepted to go towards the cost of a service dog for David through the DogForDavid.com project. David is now five and continues to struggle with issues such as danger awareness, self-harm, severe cognitive delays, and limited communication.
A service dog can help to calm David, track him when he “bolts,” and provide a voice for David by alerting caregivers when David’s senses are becoming overwhelmed. This advance notice enables the caregiver to intervene earlier and help avoid a more severe episode.
Kelsey Blue, program coordinator for the city of Haysville, expressed her enthusiasm for the show.
“We are excited to be able to help David and his family and to raise autism awareness,” Blue said. “This is the first time we’ve been involved with this type of a fundraiser.”
The show features 23 artists and 88 pieces. A cross-section of mediums will be displayed including acrylics, graphic design, photography, cross stich, crochet and assorted textiles. The artists come from across the country, including Vermont and Delaware, and as far away as England.
According to David’s mom, Cindi Hartley, a yellow-lab named Dallas has already been selected for David and has just finished his first year of a two-year training program. In order for Dallas to finally find his home with David the Hartley’s must raise $16,000. So far, $5,000 has been raised.
“It took a little bit of time to find the right dog for David,” said Hartley. “David is big for his age so he needed a larger and stronger dog that still had a gentle side.”
The fundraiser aspect includes an online auction through the DogForDavid.com website. Rusty Eck Ford has joined forces with DogForDavid by adding the project to their community charity raffle.
Purchasing a $10 ticket during the show or through DogForDavid.com not only helps to make sure that Dallas comes home to David but provides a chance to win a new vehicle.
The idea for the show came from the readers of Hartley’s blog.
“It started with an artist donating a picture for the auction,” Hartley said. “Everyone got excited and suggested an entire art show.”
The pieces in the show are not actually for sale but are available for the pure joy and pleasure of art enthusiasts.
Pawsabilities is the second show of the season for the Wire House Art Gallery. Additional shows are scheduled throughout the summer. For more show information consult the city’s website at haysville.com or contact Blue at 529-5922.
Officials with Sedgwick County and the city of Haysville break grouind on the fire station that will be constructed near Main and Grand in Haysville.