Houston Art School Gives Specilal Outlet For
Special Needs Kids
Audio Interview of Alvin Roy, Founder
by Florian Martin, December 14, 2012
Parent, Doctor Swear by Art Therapy
Aired by Fox 26
Show to benefit those with Down syndrome
Article by Arlene Nisson Lassin, April 27 2006 (Shown Above)
Third Ward resident Alvin Roy, 49, has accomplished a lot in his life. He was in the U.S. Marine Corps, earned a law degree and has made a living as an artist.
He now hopes to accomplish something that is most important to him personally - bringing a vocational arts program to teenagers and adults with Down syndrome.
Roy has joined with the Community Artists' Collective, the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County, and the Down Syndrome Association of Houston to present an art show and sale that will fund an art program for youths with Down syndrome.
A Visual Dialogue: Driven to Abstraction will be held Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m.-6p.m. at Roy's studio, 101 Crawford, Suite 205.
The event will feature the works of Roy's fellow artists and friends Burford Evans, Lionel Lofton, Philippe Sommet and Andrew Thompson.
The suggested admission fee is $5 per person.
An opening reception si from 6-9 p.m. on Friday/
Funds raised will help supply art instructions, supplies and a galleryin which participants can show their work alongside other artists.
The program will be offered beginning July 5, at the Community Artists' Collective, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the arts and art education more accessible to children located at 1501 Elgin at La Branch.
"The reason I am trying to help those with Down syndrome is because I believe this is such a misunderstood group in our society that faces discrimination and non-incluction." Roy said."That is why I want to give a voice to why I want to give a voice to these people, and bring attention to them that they are human beings that deserve respect.
"Research has shown that participation in art activities can have a positive impact on cognitive, physical and social development,"he added. "The effect is important for all individuals, but even more so for thaose with Down syndrome who often face delay in their motor skills and problems expressing themselves with speech and language."
Roy knows from first-hand experience. He raised his son, Ezra, who has Down syndrome, as a single parent after a divorce.
Alvin Roy found that his son responded with heightened cognitive abilities when given the opportunity to work in art media.
Respond to color
"Art can be a vehicle for them," Roy said."I noticed that Ezra learned his ABC's when I paired them with colors because he responded so well to color. I have worked with him in art since he was able to walk."
Ezra is now 17 years old and a 10th-grader at Yates High School, 3703 Sampson.
Dr. Linda Neely, a board certified pediatrician, believes Alvin Roy is right on track.
"As a pediatrician practicing for the last 16 years, I am concernd with the personal development, individual variablity, and quality of life for people with Down syndrome," Neely said. "I applaud and encourage participation in the arts because it helps foster self-esteem and confidence through accomplishment and can provide an outlet for ideas or feelings they may be unable to communicate."
"Dr. Roy Brown (professor emeritus of the University of Calgary, Canada) published an article in The Down Syndrome Research and Practice Journal that showed that people with Down syndrome often have very vivid visual mental imagery and use this effectively in art. This articel suggest that these skills are worth developing and may be relevant to educational training, social skills, community living and employmet situations."
A native of Houston, Roy always pursued his calling as an artist even when his academic course took another direction.
After graduating from old San Jacinto High School, he was offered a partial scholarship to Pratt Institute in New York City, but it was too expensive. Instead, he enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1974.
Stationed in Okinawa
While in the service, he was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, where he studied under master artist Tobyn Ishimi, honing his drawing skills and learned to paint on silk. His first art show was in Okinawa in 1976.
Roy's father discouraged him from pursuing a career in art, so after completing active duty in 1979, he started attending Texas Southern University while in the reserves.
Roy received a bachelor's degree in political science in 1983 and enrolled in TSU"s Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
Graduating with a juris doctor degree in 1988, Roy practiced civil litigation law from 988-95, when he gave up his law practice to concentrate on his art full time.
He is represented by Stella Jones Gallery in New Orleans, and has shown at Guishaurd Gallery in Chicago, as well as in the annual National Black Fine Arts Show in New York City.
"I am blessed to have talents, and to have those talents nurtured,"said Roy, who also has a 27-year-old daughter, Meschelle. "Now I want to give back to others."