Stephen Epstein

Stephen D. McSweeney OTC, P721X
Bronx, NY

Project Description:

Epstein’s winning project, “Student Art Cares”, was created for a group of developmentally-challenged students at Stephen D. McSweeney OTC, P721X. The students, who are primarily autistic, will work with their art teacher in the yearlong art/work/study program to create a mural for a well-known community agency, AHRC - an agency that supports the needs of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It is an employment-driven organization that mentors and trains developmentally-challenged clients in their transition into various employment sectors. Through the mural project, the AHRC space will be beautified to make it more visually readable to represent and illustrate the types of skills and workforce jobs the organization trains its clients for. Those jobs include custodial work, stock maintenance, inventory and sorting, supermarkets, kitchen and cooking assistance, and much more. By creating the mural to illustrate these skills and jobs, the goal is for it to create an ongoing storybook, information guide, and invite others to dialogue which will hopefully create a level of interest, curiosity, and participation for AHRC staff, prospective clients, and their parents. Epstein, who lives in Danbury, CT, hopes the project will transform the role and image of students with special needs from passive to active. He also hopes participants will learn creative skills that enrich their contribution to the school and community.