Roslyn Village Gallery hosts art show, sale for artists on autism spectrum

Roslyn Village Gallery hosts art show, sale for artists on autism spectrum
(Photos courtesy of Andrew King, Alec Leto and Alexa Krevatas)

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, the Roslyn Village Gallery is hosting an art show and sale this weekend with the works of three artists on the autism spectrum.

The works of Alec Leto, Alexa Krevatas and Andrew King will be on display from 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Gallery owner Marsha Tarlow said 50 percent of the sales go to the artist and the other half is split between Life’s Worc, a nonprofit that provides comprehensive services and support to more than 2,300 people with developmental disabilities and autism in Queens and across Long Island, Spectrum Designs, a clothing manufacturer that is one of the largest employers of adults with autism in the country that recently moved to Port Washington, as well as the gallery.

“This is not an art show about autism,” Tarlow said. “This is a showcase for three talented artists who happen to be autistic.”

Alexa’s mother, Inga Krevatas of Franklin Square, said she bought her daughter an easel and a paint-by-numbers set for Christmas when she was 15.

Alexa Krevatas began painting three years ago and has since grown to experiment with new methods. (Photo courtesy of Inga Krevatas)

Alexa, now 17, has grown as an artist, now practicing the pour-over method with her art, using different colors and types of acrylic paint poured over the canvas.

“She’s developed her own individuality,” Inga Krevatas said. “It helps her go to a nice, calm place for a couple of hours during the week, and she enjoys it. It’s part of her life now.”

All three artists are taught by Mary Schneider in her Manhasset home.

Inga Krevatas said her daughter often uses her hands instead of brushes for her works, which include landscapes, beach scenes and portraits, including a painting of Geraldo Rivera that she gave him at a fundraiser a few years ago.

Alexa’s twin sister, Sophia, who is also on the spectrum, does not paint but is the ultimate cheerleader for Alexa, Inga Krevatas said.

Alec’s mother, Linda Leto of Glen Head, said her son began painting about nine years ago during his freshman year of high school.

Alec Leto has been painting for nearly a decade. (Photo courtesy of Linda Leto)

“It’s therapeutic. It’s calming,” she said. “It’s incredibly rewarding for him because when someone sees his paintings and compliments him or offers to buy it, he gets extremely excited. I don’t think he looks at it as work.”

Quickly, Alec, now 23, took to the visual arts and his second painting, a self-portrait, has been distributed across Philadelphia by a company that bought the rights to reproduce his work to use in its buildings.

In 2011, Alec began working with oil-based paints, graduating from acrylics, and he began working with Schneider in 2013.

“He used to draw in mosaics,” Linda Leto said. “When you looked at his paintings, it looked fragmented, but the further you stood back from it, you could clearly see the image. Sometimes when you look at a picture, it’s overwhelming and don’t know where to begin. She would break it down for him, and that’s how he learned.”

Andrew King began his artistic journey by drawing copies of Disney characters. (Photo courtesy of Lauren King)

Andrew’s mother, Lauren King of Manhasset, said her son began drawing at 7 years old by copying famous cartoon characters.

“We quickly discovered he had a talent,” Lauren said. “He was always running around the house with a Disney videotape in his hand. The art therapist had a hard time getting him to sit still, so she decided to sit on the living room floor and draw the tape in his hand. He started watching her, and by the time she was about to leave, she had him drawing the characters. He started by drawing Disney characters, and he developed into all different types of media.”

Andrew, an employee at Spectrum Designs, has donated one of his sunset paintings to the company, where it hangs in the front lobby.

Lauren King said Andrew, now 23, will spend hours on his art, but when he decides the piece is finished, he moves on to the next project.

“He does have a sense of pride in what he does,” she said. “He’s definitely a lot calmer since he’s been painting, but he doesn’t have much attachment to his paintings. Once he’s done with a painting, he’s done with it.”

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