Dyslexia Art Show by Cheri Rae
The Dyslexia Art created by Cheri was featured on the Santa Barbara online news site, Noozhawk:. “Advocate Cheri Rae Uses Art Show to Illustrate Creativity, Accomplishments of People with Dyslexia,” by Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer
Writer and advocate Cheri Rae created a gallery showing, “Welcome to DyslexiaLand: Population 1 in 5,” which highlights some of the world’s most famous inventors, scientists and artists who had dyslexia.
Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Thomas Edison, John Lennon and Ansel Adams are all united in their genius but also share something else in common.
All had dyslexia, and achieved significant scientific and artistic accomplishments because of this fact, not in spite of it, maintains advocate and writer Cheri Rae, who features these individuals and many more in a pop-up art gallery titled “Welcome to DyslexiaLand: Population 1 in 5.”
“It not only doesn’t limit you, it’s a positive attribute and it’s probably the reason for their success,” said Rae, who is the director of The Dyslexia Project which connects parents and educators with resources.
She’s created a collective of works of mixed-media pieces that feature some of the famous individuals with dyslexia and used the display to approach their challenges and achievements.
The artwork pop-up, which is located at the Art from Scrap Gallery in the building’s second floor space, is on display just in time, as October is Dyslexia Awareness Month.
This month has been a good one for advocates, as state law, Assembly Bill 1369, was signed by Gov. Jerry brown on Oct. 8 and provides more services to students with dyslexia in public schools.
Dyslexia affects one in five people, according to the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity.
The pop-up gallery will be on display on the second story of Art from Scrap’s location, at 302 E. Cota in Santa Barbara, during store business hours until Nov. 15.
Rae will also be hosting an event on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Central Library, which will include a discussion about dyslexia and the parents’ grassroots movement, Decoding Dyslexia.
People with dyslexia can have trouble reading and writing, even though they often have excellent vocabularies and often solve problems in an out-of-the-box way, Rae said.
One of advocate and parent Cheri Rae’s artworks highlights Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone and had dyslexia. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)
Many of the items that were used to make the mixed-media artworks in Rae’s gallery were found at Art from Scrap, and using objects that have little value to some to make creative meaningful projects is a metaphor that could also apply to people with dyslexia, Rae said.
When an Art from Scrap employee asked what she was working on, the conversation turned to asking Rae to display her art in a pop-up gallery.
“A lot of kids come in here,” she said, adding that she realized how important visuals were to illustrate how dyslexia works when she began speaking to elementary students.
Schools tend to look at the negatives of dyslexia, like the difficulty with spelling and writing and poor performance on standardized tests, and not the positives like creativity, Rae said.
The works feature well-known names such as Picasso, as well as lesser known but still accomplished names of people with dyslexia, including astrophysicist Maggie Aderin-Pocock.
Among the famous faces is a piece of art that reveals the hardship of Rae’s own son, Daniel, and his journey with dyslexia.
A display of one his writing exercises from school shows him struggling to express his thoughts, an effort that earned him zero points, a score emblazoned on the paper in red pencil.
The paper on display is especially moving because Daniel wrote the paragraph his first year of high school.
There are high-profile examples of people who have used their dyslexia to their advantage and created successful careers, including that of Kinko’s founder Paul Orfalea, who has spoken openly about his dyslexia and overcoming academic challenges to create a billion-dollar company.
Rae authored a small book on the topic called DyslexiaLand, which can be found at Chaucer’s Books and on Amazon, and walks parents and teachers through strategies based on her own experience with the school system and special education.
Rae meets with parents at the Parent Resource Center, which is part of the Santa Barbara Unified School District headquarters at 720 Santa Barbara St.
Mothers in tears will explain the challenges their child is facing, and Rae directs the conversation to encouraging what the child is interested in.
“Find your child’s strengths and build on that,” she said.