A green sanctuary was recreated in the middle of the Bonifacio Global City’s concrete jungle to feature artwork by artists with autism.
Autism Speaks defines autism as having a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. While this condition is marked by a number of challenges, Arte Autismo Filipino chooses to celebrate the strengths of its featured artists, allowing them to shine. The exhibit opened last 3 June at The Globe Tower, Basement 1, The Globe Art Gallery at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.
Rachel Harrison, an architect and social entrepreneur, is one of the staunchest advocates for persons with autism and disability. She owns Zambawood, a luxury resort in San Narciso, Zambales.
In order to provide an opportunity for employment to PWDs, Harrison put up Julyan Coffee Spot in a more accessible location near the school and public market in the town. Julyan Coffee Spot is a café that serves delicious meals and snacks, hot coffee, frappes, and lattes.
It was named after her son, who was diagnosed with autism at the tender age of two. Julyan is now 26, and his artwork are also on display at the exhibit. The works of Nina Bantoto, Vico Cham, Chico Joaquin, Samantha Kaspar and Daniel Sanchez are also featured at the event.
The exhibit is an auspicious moment for Harrison, who also plans to have multiple locations of Julyan Coffee Spot in order to provide a source of livelihood for person with disabilities.
They’re already opening three branches in Metro Manila this year: eighth floor of The Globe Tower at the Bonifacio Global City in June; Palma Street in Poblacion, Makati in July; and Maysilo Circle, Mandaluyong City, later this year. The baristas are trained by Aida Sotto and Joahana Pimentel from Rotary Mandaluyong Uptown and San Juan Central.
It may be an ambitious plan, but it is something that Harrison believes is possible. She abides by these words: “Choose love. Choose kindness. Choose fun and purpose.”
“When everyone is working for what’s right and what’s good, the wonderful energy keeps flowing,” she says, a fierce believer in giving equal opportunity for everyone, including those with disabilities, to pursue livelihood.
“We are absolutely delighted to find allies in our cause, which immensely helps raise awareness,” she adds.
One of these allies is Globe, the country’s leading telecommunications company.
“Children with autism are indeed special. Look at all the artwork on display! This goes to show that love and support goes a long way in dealing with the disorder. Julyan and all the artists here are living examples of life’s beauty. We’re proud to host their work here at the Globe art gallery,” says Yoly Crisanto, head of Corporate Communications and Chief Sustainability Officer of Globe.
The Arte Autismo Filipino Art and Photo Exhibit’s major sponsors are Globe, Estate Wine, Fuji Film and supported by OLOF Plant Based food, Bravo!, Wrapsha and L’Entrecote. It runs until 26 June.
Julyan Coffee Spot is currently located in 8 Foton Street, Barangay San Pascual, San Narciso, Zambales. Like and follow their Facebook Page (@julyancoffeespot). For inquiries, contact 0917-7054740. For more information, visit https://julyans-coffee-spot-by-zambawood-cafe.business.site.