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Mexican School of Down Art
The John Langdon Down Foundation was created in Mexico on April 3 1972, as the first institution of its kind in the world dedicated to providing care and education to people with Down syndrome and their families. Over thirty-two years of uninterrupted service, the foundation has developed various programs to improve the quality of life of people with Down syndrome.
Thus, in 1993, The John Langdon Down Foundation created The Mexican School of Down Art as an initiative promoting an educational model based on the development of symbolic comprehension, expression and creation. It was at first a recreational activity in the form of a painting workshop where materials were restricted to paper, cardboard, markers, watercolours and crayons.
Subsequently, in 1995, after observing what had been achieved and the artistic potential of students, the Foundation created a more extensive educational program in the visual arts, comparable to that of many professional courses. Thus, the creative power of people with Down syndrome could be more clearly expressed in the exploration of diverse materials and media (oils and acrylics, pastels, engraving). This allowed them to lend shape to work of great artistic value, similar in sensibility, technique and quality to that of professional artists: indeed, work that has been shown in prestigious venues in Mexico as well as abroad.
The project achieved such relevance that in 1997 the Foundation formally established the Mexican School of Down Art whose program includes a wide range of theoretical courses and technical workshops in painting, sculpture and engraving.
The artwork of the Mexican School of Down Art students has received the acknowledgment of renowned artists such as Rafael Cauduro, Raúl Anguiano, Juan Soriano and José Luis Cuevas, amongst others, and has been shown in diverse venues across the country and the globe.
Among its most noteworthy exhibitions we should mention those hosted by the Vanderbilt University’s John F. Kennedy Center, the University of Kansas’ Institute for Child Development and the University of Colorado’s UMC Art Gallery and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, and also the show organized as part of the 32 Festival Internacional Cervantino in the city of Guanajuato, Mexico.
The Mexican School of Down Art is an innovative project proposing a new alternative for young people with Down syndrome to express themselves. This valuable endeavour is the result of the effort of the John Langdon Down Foundation which instigated the School’s creation with the firm belief that people with Down’s syndrome have much to offer in the field of the arts.
The Mexican School of Down Art primary goals are:
- Fostering the development of a personal mode of artistic expression through visual art education.
- Motivating creative development and inventiveness by means of art work.
- Fostering artists’ integration in the field through their participation in exhibitions, conferences and other art events.