Sunday, August 8, 2021



WHEN: July 30th - August 31st, 2021
WHERE: Studio Montclair Gallery, 127 Bloomfield Ave. Montclair, by appointment only. Please contact us at
For more information CLICK HERE 
Virtual Gallery

Studio Montclair and the WAE Center are delighted to announce our collaboration on a portrait project with some of our students. The WAE Center and SMI have shared a long and fruitful relationship, with this exhibit being the first of its kind. Incentivized by the COVID Pandemic and yearning for ways to bring artists together and out into the community, the Portrait Project emerged in 2020 as the means to do just that. (Above, left: Untraditional Vanessa by Vanessa Montes; right: After Hiyao Miyazaki by Scott Gilson)

The Studio Montclair (SMI)/WAE Center Student Portrait Project used the effectiveness of portrait drawing as an artistic tool for adults with developmental disabilities. Artists with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have found multiple benefits in this project, including improved communication, social skills, and artistry. (Left: Portrait of Zoom Class by Kristin I)

SMI and WAE Center instructors recognized that visual arts provide an outlet for adults with IDD or ASD. This project opened space for each artist to make significant contributions by creating self-portrayals. Each organization empowered the creative process by introducing portraiture styles resonant with each student. The instructors throughout this project provided an environment of support and empowerment to each artist as their project developed. SMI/WAE Center believes self-portraits are critical in encouraging students to gain further insight into their lives and surroundings.

Thirty-seven students participated in the portraiture project. (Right: Janet B by Janet B)

The foundational theme for this project used iconic artists as inspiration for self-portraits. The artists referenced for this project were Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Vincent Van Gogh, Yayoi Kusama, Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Cindy Sherman. These artists throughout history used self-portraiture as an underpinning of their work.  

About Studio Montclair Art Academy: Studio Montclair Art Academy, provides art instruction by professional artists in various visual arts media, from studio art classes to programs in art history and art appreciation. We recruit professional artist-teachers with highly specialized skills to work with students as instructors and mentors for all ages and skill sets. Our programs utilize differentiated instruction as a framework to effectively teach all students regardless of differences in ability. Via our exceptional programs, we reach and cultivate creativity in students of various cultures, socioeconomic status, language, gender, age, ability/differently-abled, personal interests, and beyond. Our classes inspire students of all ages by cultivating self-expression, personal achievement, and life enrichment that come with mastering art techniques. (Left: Seen Not Heard by Candace Cruickshank)

About JSDD’s WAE Center: Founded in 2004, JSDD’s WAE (Wellness, Arts, Enrichment) Center is a holistic arts learning program for adults with developmental disabilities. Dedicated to “Finding the Spark Within,” WAE’s focus is on the personal growth of each member. We believe in meeting individuals and supporting them as they identify and achieve their personal goals. Moreover, by embracing these humanistic principles, WAE guides members in building a greater capacity to live a full life.