Auction shows its 'heArt'
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 12:13 pm
There is something special about the art up for auction at a gala event in High River this weekend.
The Special Needs Association for Parents and Siblings (SNAPS) is auctioning 40 pieces of art created by individuals with special needs, their families and local artists in its “Show the Love!” heArt Gala at High River’s Alta Vita Ristorante on March 1 at 7 p.m.
Photographs, paintings, stuffed animals, digital art and drawings — more than half a dozen created by those with special needs — will be up for auction.
“The majority of our art at one time was all (made by) individuals with special needs,” said SNAPS executive director Orvella Small. “The local artist community wanted to get involved and support what we were doing and this was one way they could do it.”
The semi-formal annual event alternates between communities each year and showcases high quality art, said Small.
Okotokian Linda Cornett-Ching, whose 23-year-old daughter Jessica has Asperger Syndrome, has been a part of SNAPS for nine years. Jessica donated her creative digital art pieces to the fundraising gala the past three auctions.
“When she entered her art a few years ago and somebody bought it you should have seen her face,” said Cornett-Ching. “It was no longer just mom and dad telling her what a great artist she was and that it was a great value to other people. To have people bidding on her art and watch the price go up and up was such a validation for her.”
Now Jessica is hooked. She is donating three digital art pieces this weekend.
“When a piece sells I feel a sense of jubilation,” said Jessica. “I really enjoy drawing so I do it for fun. It’s definitely rewarding when someone is interested in buying my art.”
Cornett-Ching said she considers the SNAPS events a safe place for her family.
“As a parent of a special needs child you are always on guard when you are in public because you are not sure what they are going to say or how they are going to act and how people are going to look at them and judge them or judge you as a parent,” she said. “When you go to SNAPS events we can just relax and our guard goes down and it’s okay to let them be who they are and you know you are not going to be judged.”
Cornett-Ching is entering a photograph she took titled “The Road Ahead” with the quote “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
SNAPS is a non-profit organization offering support and resources to families who have children with special needs, no matter their disability or age.
The number of families supported by SNAPS grew from 67 three years ago to 420 today.
“That’s close to 1,500 people we serve because we serve the whole family,” said Small. Cornett-Ching said SNAPS plugged her family into resources they didn’t know were available and provided counseling and emotional support.
“They’ve stood by us when a lot of other agencies were no longer able to support us,” she said. “When (Jessica) turned 18 she no longer qualified for any kind of aid or support at all. SNAPS has been a resource for me in making me aware of possible avenues that we could look at. If anything new comes along they let us know.”
Cornett-Ching attributed Jessica’s success in getting a job as an auto-detailer to the work of SNAPS. Jessica also sells her art online at www.drachorn.deviantart.com.
Although SNAPS is partially funded by community grants it requires another $75,000 annually to remain sustainable. Funds come from donations and its gala and motorcycle rally.
Tickets to attend “Show the Love!” heArt Gala cost $10 per person or $20 per family.
Artist Donald Ham is donating an oil painting of the High River rodeo grounds for this year’s raffle.
For more information about the event call 403-603-3232 or go to www.foothillssnaps.org