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OARacle Newsletter

OAR thanks the 74 young artists who submitted their creative artwork to the 2023 Youth Art Contest. We received artwork from young people in 17 states and six countries.  Every entry demonstrated the theme of “community” in a unique and inspiring way.  

Congratulations to the winners of OAR’s 2023 Youth Art Contest 

Autistic Youth Category 

  • 8 years old and under – My People by Noah M.  
  • Ages 9 -13 – The Grand Community by Braydon S. 
  • 14 years old and older – You Are Not Alone by Melody M. 

Autism Youth Allies Category 

  • 10 years old and under – Adventures with My Brother by Adhvay R. 
  • Ages 11 – 18 – Community and Autism: We are United! by Tanuj S. 

Grand Prize Winner 

  • Autistic Youth: 14 years old and older – Love Blooming by Indiana C. 

To view this year’s winning art or sign up for 2024 Art Contest announcements, visit our Youth Art Contest page. To help celebrate the winning artists and Autism Acceptance Month, you can send a donation e-card featuring the artwork of the winners throughout the month of April.  

2023 Guest Judges

We are especially grateful to our guest judges, as they did not have an easy task in selecting winners from such an inspiring and amazing group of entries.  

Sydney Cook is an autistic artist and disability advocate from San Diego, Calif. Her primary art medium is digital drawing and composition. Her work has been featured in product designs by Linc-d and Lippy Lu. When she’s not creating art, Cook can be found volunteering for disability advocacy organizations or working her day job at a dog daycare and boarding facility. Visit her website and follow her on Instagram to see more about her advocacy and art. 

Tom Coomber is a British autistic artist working mainly in acrylic paints as they allow him to recreate something of the vividness with which he perceives the world. He was shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer Show in 2022 and is looking forward to a joint exhibition at Asylum Studios in May 2023. You can find products featuring Coomber’s art on Linc-d, Lippy Lu, and Art Rabble. Visit Tom’s website and follow him on Facebook or Instagram for his latest paintings and to get behind the scenes of his process. 

Kenny Davis is an autistic artist. He has a hard time saying how and what he feels, so he found a way to express it through art. Davis likes creating one-of-a-kind pieces that people can hang in their homes and loves painting with kids too. You can find products featuring his art on Linc-d and Lippy Lu. Follow Davis on Instagram to see him in action and admire his one-of-a-kind artwork. 

Wiley Johnson is a 38-year-old self-taught artist from Raleigh, N.C., who has autism spectrum disorder. He began painting acrylic abstracts on canvas as a hobby in 2009 because it made him happy and gave him something to do when he was alone. 2020 was a year of transformation for Johnson, with acceptance into more juried group gallery shows. He’s gone on to have featured and solo exhibitions. You can find Johnson’s art prints, originals, and products featuring his work on ArtLifting, Linc-d, and Lippy Lu. Visit his website and follow him on Instagram for first looks at his colorful paintings and information on him latest shows. 

D.J. Svoboda was born in 1983 and diagnosed at age 3 with autism spectrum disorder with psychomotor retardation, which included speech delays and issues with his fine motor skills. He found it difficult to even hold a pencil. Today, Svoboda is a dynamic motivational speaker, an accomplished artist, and an author with three books, My Imagiville, The Mupperezmo and the Rainbow, and The Inspirations of Imagiville. You can find products featuring his art on Linc-d and Lippy Lu.  Visit Svoboda’s website and follow him on Facebook for his latest speaking engagements and Imagifriends creations.  

Thank you again to this year’s artists, the parents, siblings, and friends who encouraged them, and again the judges. We cannot wait for next year’s art contest!  

If you have any suggestions for next year’s art contest theme or would like to be considered as a 2024 Youth Art Contest judge, contact Rachel Luizza.