Rainforest mural teaches and inspires

Anthony Galati is a Morristown-based artist who discovered Matheny through a friend who works as a facilitator in the Arts Access Program. He decided to paint a mural in one of the elementary classrooms of the Matheny School and started the project in June 2010. “I came in to paint it on weekends, when the kids weren’t in the classroom,” he says. “It took 116 hours.”

The painting, which has a rainforest theme, was completed in September 2011. The rainforest idea, he says, “seemed like a universal thing that most of the kids would get excited about. I thought it could also be used as a teaching tool. I researched the rainforest and made sure that all of the animals that I chose for the mural are found in the rainforest. Also, each of the plants is a rainforest climbing plant that actually grows on trees the way I painted it. As I was aware of the visual challenges faced by some of the children, I used a lot of contrast to make the image as clear as possible for them.”

Although Galati describes himself as “predominantly a realist,” he admits to being “increasingly attracted to the mysterious. I don’t believe there is a need to see one kind of expression as any more valid that another. They are all different languages that the artist is using to convey something; whether realism or abstract, it’s all art.”

Drawn to the idea of utilizing art as a method of healing, Galati also believes that “few things are as good at relieving stress and putting you back in touch with yourself as making some form of art. You never know how something you create may positively impact the lives of others.”

Anthony Galati’s website: www.thelanguageofpigment.com

Artistically able

Want to see paintings and digital art that “challenge the senses and push the boundaries of what you think of as art?” Check out the painting on this page by Arts Access artist Shaleena Tomassini at Matheny.  Madison-based artist Dan Fenelon describes the Arts Access artists’ work as “exciting” and Matheny President Steve Proctor says these artists “refuse to be defined by their disabilities.”

The artwork was created as part of the Arts Access Program, which provides professional “artist-facilitators” to help the disabled artists translate their visions into reality. The art will be on view at “Full Circle 2011: Dimensions,” an annual celebration of the program set for November 5 at the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center on the Matheny campus. The show will be curated by Fenelon, a painter, sculptor and muralist whose work includes a mural on the side of the Luna Stage Building in West Orange.  There will also be a stage presentation highlighting other art disciplines such as dance, drama, prose and poetry. For more information about Full Circle, call 908-234-0011, ext. 260, or download this flyer.