Artist with autism and down syndrome gets her own art exhibit in Atlanta

Dana Anderson cannot read, write or care for herself. The 26-year-old has autism and down syndrome, but she found her voice through the top of a paintbrush. She’s now the first special needs artist to have her own exhibit, and you can see it in downtown Atlanta.

Anderson uses acrylic paints to create multicolor masterpieces, and her mother Janet says painting has become Dana’s true source of happiness.

“For her whole life, she’s never really exhibited a lot of confidence or pride in anything, and because she's so low functioning, she hasn't been given a lot of opportunities, so for the first time in her life she has a voice,” Janet said. “And that's pretty amazing.”

Anderson visits a painting studio once a week that was specifically created for adults with disabilities. 

Dana’s mom said it’s a shame she didn’t know her daughter loved painting sooner. “Nobody knew she had the talent, and we didn't know she had the desire,” Anderson said. “It’s sad, but most K-12 schools don't have special education students participate in electives.”

Anderson is hoping you’ll come see Dana’s work and enjoy her talent. “I see the greater good because not only is the community learning about Dana's work, but they're learning that any person with disabilities can do pretty cool things if given the opportunity,” said Anderson.

You can see Dana’s work at the Central Presbyterian Church at 201 Washington St SW, Atlanta, Ga. 30303.