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Work of artists with disabilities on display

Nicholas Kruger has his art on display at

Nicholas Kruger has his art on display at the Long Island Children's Museum as artists with autism and other special needs to introduce art that will raise funds to assist victims of Sandy. (Dec. 10, 2012) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Half-a-dozen teens and young adults battling developmental disabilities, including autism, showed their art Monday at the Long Island Children's Museum in Garden City, where their exhibit will run through Jan. 6.

The paintings are part of a therapy-through-art program at Family Residences and Essential Enterprises in Bethpage. The art's theme is chaos and containment.

Ed Regensburg, director of art therapy at FREE, said the art represents "the feelings of chaotic emotional turmoil and the . . . expression of containing this emotion through self regulation, balance and control."

FREE officials sometimes sell copies of the paintings for about $150 each, with the proceeds divided between the artist and the agency. Sue Sorrentino, divisional director for day care programs, said FREE plans to donate its "small share" to victims of superstorm Sandy.

The artists range in age from 16 to 25 years old.

Nick Kruger, 16, said he had been painting for 10 years. Pointing to his painting, he explained what the colors meant -- blue for sadness, red for anger, black for darkness and white for happiness.

His mother, Barbara Kruger, of Wantagh, said: "Nick enjoys the art work; it helps him relax."

Regensburg said art therapy often helped people be "more expressive through art than they might be with words."

The museum's director of exhibits, Erik Schurink, said the art themes " . . . resonate more strongly with visitors in Sandy's wake" as Long Island residents grapple with such feelings as part of their daily activities.The exhibit also contains four pieces from outside artists on the theme of chaos and containment. None of the artists were from Nassau and Suffolk.

The nearest one was from Brooklyn -- Kit Warren. Because she thought it fit the theme, she submitted a large, long-finished piece that she called Worlds Apart III.

"I work a lot of scientific imagery where you see that everything below the surface is teeming with life and movement. I also hoped that my work would give these young artists with different abilities some new ideas."

The other submissions by outside artists came from the Hudson Valley, Michigan and Texas, museum officials said.

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