This guest post is by Adela Tesnow, a young woman on the autism spectrum who was accepted into Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Adela is applying for the Spring 2021 Making a Difference Autism Scholarship via the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference started by me, Kerry Magro. I was nonverbal till 2.5 and diagnosed with autism at 4 and you can read more about my organization here.
I hope you can support my nonprofit like I’m trying to support these students with scholarship aid for college. Learn more on how you can help our cause with a small donation (just asking for $3 today, equal to your daily cup of coffee) here.
When I was first called an artist, an award was placed in my hand in my freshman year of high school. My art teacher had given my class three weeks to put a paintbrush to canvas before a representative from the local Miller Art Museum came into our classroom to observe our work that would be momentarily displayed on their walls. When she had walked over to my area, she glanced at my work. I remember seeing an interest in her eyes, a curiosity, and a fascination that held one artist to another. I felt captivated by her wonder. She sat down with me, and we spoke a detailed conversation about how perception within the art world is so much more vast than one would let on. Art is reflective, personal, and no one description can be placed upon it. Those same words can be said for an artist, and I knew at that moment that is what I wanted to be.
In my last four years of Highschool, I was surrounded by obstacles. I was growing into adulthood with an early diagnosis of autism at the age of three. Social queues prohibited me from the most basic tasks growing up: friends, schooling, and even my own family. For the first five years of my life, I was silent, and communicating with the outside world was near impossible. But I ultimately decided boundaries weren’t for me.
When I discovered art, it was a gateway to self-expression, and I learned that art wasn’t simply a drawing on a piece of paper. It was limitless. Music, writing, fashion, all the way to basic engineering was an expression of art. I first expanded my abilities with writing. I decided to take Honors English and AP Language and Literature in my last three years of high school. I discovered a love for writing along the way, publishing fiction online. I additionally joined my school’s Pen and Ink Club, as well as becoming the head of the student life section in my school’s newspaper to expand my abilities. I then chose to audition for the school musical, singing for the first time and what seemed like the last. I spent weeks regretting auditioning, but when callbacks were announced, I was given a lead role. I continued to fortify my exploration through the arts and submitted my portfolio to my local museum. I was allowed to have my work displayed, after which I had multiple paintings sold, and I couldn’t have been more proud. Afterward, I chose to start my own online art business, which has given me an opportunity to explore my community and connect with people all across the world.
It is my goal after high school to continue to learn and find myself in the process. I have worked hard to succeed in my secondary education, and I want to do the same after I graduate. I want to continue my journey exploring fine arts and experience things that will help me succeed in my career as an artist. I’ve always devoted myself to my craft ever since I first discovered this outlet, and it’s my personal goal to learn what lies beyond paintbrush and canvas. Art has taught me that there is no limit to self-expression and that all perception varies in the most beautiful of ways. I am determined to go beyond myself and prove to be something recognizable within the art community, and I am committed to having no one tell me what I cannot do in my life.
My name is Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum that started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue a post-secondary education. Help support me so I can continue to help students with autism go to college by making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit here.