Solana Beach author’s ‘Radical Inclusion’ art exhibition debuts

Solana Beach resident and author Andrea Moriarty joined Jack Medved, an artist who is autistic, at the opening of the "Radical Inclusion" art exhibition on Aug. 3.
(Andrea Moriarty)

After visiting Creativity Explored, a San Francisco-based studio for developmentally disabled artists, Solana Beach resident and author Andrea Moriarty got an idea.

One of the studio’s artists, Jose Nunez, created the artwork on the cover of Moriarty’s memoir, “Radical Inclusion,” which details the author’s experiences raising a son with autism and outlines ways to create a more inclusive society. Nunez and his fellow artists embodied those principles at Creativity Explored.

“I came home wanting to do something like that in San Diego that would really show them instead of telling them what the book’s about,” Moriarty said.

Her idea led to six San Diego-based artists with autism partnering with six professional artists for “A Radical Inclusion Traveling Art Exhibition,” touring through San Diego from now until December 2020.

The exhibition debuted in front of about 60 attendees on Aug. 3 at Sophie’s Gallery in El Cajon, where it will remain until Aug. 25. Three of the works were sold on opening night.

The exhibition will make stops at Revision Gallery in Old Town, the Foundry Gallery in Carlsbad, Culture Brewing in Encinitas, Solana Beach City Hall, The Church at Rancho Bernardo and Lux Art Institute in Encinitas.

“People are really excited there’s a way they can include a neurodiverse population,” Moriarty said of the response the exhibition has generated from friends, family, participating artists and the venues that will be hosting it.

Her son Reid, who is autistic, is passionate about his singing and songwriting. He also hosts a podcast called “Talk Time w/Reid Moriarty,” where he conducts seven-minute interviews with guests including musical artist Aloe Blacc, former tennis champion Stan Smith and Martin Guitars President Jackie Renner. He also makes music. About five years ago when Reid turned 20, Moriarty started wondering what kind of world her son will be living in after she’s gone, which led to the idea for the “Radical Inclusion” book.

The “Radical Inclusion” collaborative artwork featured in the exhibit is similarly meant to generate more inclusivity and use art to “bring people from the margins of culture into the limelight.” With about one in 59 children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, including one in 37 boys and one in 151 girls, many other families struggle with the same issues.

Moriarty recalled seeing the work completed by Katie Flores, an autistic artist, and professional artist Moya Devine.

“You can see the way their styles merged, and you can see their interaction,” said Moriarty, who also wrote “One Track Mind: 15 Ways to Amplify Your Child’s Special Interest.”

The other participating autistic artists are Alejandro Acosta, Brendan Kerr, Ethan Marr, Jack Medved and Stevenson Sapper, and the five other professional artists partnering with them are Rich Walker, Joy Boe, Anna Stoefen, Amanda Saint Claire and Deron Cohen.

The Radical Inclusion exhibition launched with the support of the Solana Beach-based nonprofit Synergy Arts Foundation, which supports at-risk and underserved local artists. All the works of art, which demonstrate the theme of “community,” will be for sale.

“It just builds a sense of caring and compassion and patience and all these things we want our community to represent,” she said, adding that the exhibition “tells a story of how we’re better together.”

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