When Kids With Food Allergies (KFA) became part of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) two years ago, its leadership knew that someday they would want something unique created to signify the uplifting spirit and philosophy of KFA with the “life without limits” slogan of AAFA.
Three teens from Arts on the Block (AOB), two of whom have asthma or food allergies, were key artists behind the large glass tile mosaic, which will be unveiled at KFA’s 10th anniversary celebration May 30 at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, Maryland.
While we can’t show you a full picture of it just yet (we will around May 30!) we wanted to tell you a little bit about the three talented young women who helped design and create the artwork. It will soon be permanently hanging in the lobby of AAFA’s national headquarters in Landover, MD.
Arts on the Block, as we told you last month, is the nonprofit that employs students as artists in a program called Pour Your ART Out. It instructs students about the business and craft of artmaking in a 20-week-long after school program.
“The mosaic will bring a smile to the faces of the people who will see it,” said AOB Deputy Director Clayton Evans.
Joslin, 17, from Silver Spring, MD, a graduating high school senior, agreed. “We wanted to have the kids in a happy setting,” she said, describing the art.
Joslin, who has exercise-induced asthma, said she can relate to the piece, which depicts themes of independence. She is leaving home in the fall to go to Texas A&M to study architecture.
Jorryn, 15, a sophomore from Washington, DC, who has asthma and is allergic to shellfish and tree nuts (but outgrew her peanut allergy), agreed with that idea as well.
As a responsible teenager, Jorryn carries her own epinephrine auto-injector, but her parents remain a backup. “One day I’m not going to be able to rely on my parents like I do now,” she said of the day when she leaves for college and when she must be responsible for herself.
“It’s about growing up and being responsible,” said another teen artist, Kayla, 16, a junior from Montgomery County. She said the message of the design is universal. “Parents have to let their kids grow up and go off on their own.”
Like Joslin, Jorryn and Kayla have plans to study art as well. Evans said their drawing and illustrative skills easily lent themselves to the artmaking process, which involved assembling approximately 3,000 individual multicolored glass tiles into a mosaic measuring 38 ½ inches wide by 71 ½ inches tall.
If you live in the Maryland area and are interested in coming to the celebration of KFA’s 10-year anniversary at BlackRock on Saturday, May 30, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM, please call our office at 215-230-5394. The day will feature a performance by “Food Allergies Rock” musician Kyle Dine. We look forward to seeing you!
AAFA and KFA extend its gratitude to our mosaic sponsor, Inovalon, a cloud-based technology company that provides data insight to healthcare companies.