Monday, August 12, 2013

Art Walk and Memory Lane

Walking past restaurants, glass art, outdoor sculpture, historic buildings, and art that popped. 
Toledo is full of art.  The latest Thursday "Art Walk" in downtown Toledo's "Warehouse District" embodied the talent. Kudos to the Arts Commission and sponsors!

It  also brought back memories of my brother Loren,who struggled with Asperger's Syndrome all his life. He died suddenly of  a heart attack at age 63 while on a hike in northern Florida. His autobiography, An Asperger Journey, came out a few months later. That was three years ago; it seems like yesterday.

The Art Walk morphed into a stroll down Memory Lane when we got to Shared Life Studio and Gallery, a nonprofit that brings together people with disabilities and the arts.  It was the first time for me, a Toledo returnee after many years away.

The historic buildings of the old downtown, some beautifully restored and painted in detail, are an architectural feast.  I've always loved Toledo's downtown for this reason, and it's gotten even better along St. Clair and the blocks around it.  It's the perfect backdrop for an art walk. We strolled along restaurants, cafes, the Ballpark (also new to me), art galleries, sculpture, and outdoor displays of glass, ceramics, jewelry, textile art, paintings and other mediums that defy labels.

Philip taking photos at Shared Lives. That's him and me top left
The art pops.  Great-grandson Philip, along with his Gran E and Uncle, thought so, too. Philip had his camera ready and took lots of photos. Then we got to Shared Lives Studio and Gallery, which beautifully displays the art of adults with developmental disabilities. Philip was in color heaven. "Nana look at this....look at that! WOW! I'll get a picture for you."

Shared Lives. What a neat place. It's a Lott Industries program, I learned. The great gallery space, alive with all kinds of art, demonstrates the wisdom that art transforms and the word "disabilities" does not describe a whole person.  A person with a "developmental disability" in one area means talent and creativity in another.

I learned that from my brother Loren. And that's how Art Walk morphed into Memory Lane, how art and memories merged.

Some things got away from Loren, but he was a genius in the way he looked at the world, in the contributions he made to preserving the environment, in his compassion, in the vast knowledge of history he shared. He looked at life from a different lens, a profoundly moving perspective. Truth be told, he changed me and how I see. And that's what Shared Lives is all about.

Art Walk pressed all our culture buttons, and then some. I felt Loren walking with us as we followed Philip the photographer from the Ballpark to Shared Lives, from one awesome display to another, from artist to artist, from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

For more information:
Arts Commission at
Shared Lives at
Loren L. Curro, An Asperger Journey, email

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