By Rachel Louchen, Rural Intelligence magazine
The Good Purpose Gallery certainly is appropriately named. Since its inception two years ago, the mission of the gallery has been to give young adults on the Autism Spectrum the opportunity to share their passions by participating in exhibits, workshops and lectures through the Community Internship Program. On Friday, January 24, the gallery hosted the work of 24-year-old Justin Canha, an artist on the Spectrum from Montclair, New Jersey whose diverse catalog of work such as colorful animal pastels and carnivorous plants will be on view until February 5. The highlight of the exhibit was the large-scale scan of his beloved composition book (which he always carries with him) displaying his stencils of almost every cartoon character imaginable from Wile E. Coyote to Homer Simpson, allowing guests an inside look into the mind of an artist. Canha is the subject of an upcoming documentary, Don’t Foil My Plans (which was being filmed that night) that will highlight his journey as he pursues his goals of moving into his own apartment and becoming a well-known illustrator and animator. If his enthusiasm, high spirits and sense of humor are any indication of the future, Justin has a long career ahead of him.
Above, Justin Canha with his cousin Afton Pavletic looking over his beloved composition book.
Gallery coordinator Dianne Steel with Community Internship Program founder Dr. Michael McManmon; Eileen Mahoney and CIP Director of Marketing Dan McManmon
The artist with his friend and business manager Melissa Wish.
Donna Jacobs of Great Barrington, Laura Jacobs and Dianne Steele; Justin’s Aunt Cindy Canha with his mother, Maria Teresa Canha.