The observation of the national Light It Up Blue Autism Awareness movement was first proposed to Brio Integrated Theatre, the Disability Access Commission, and the Winchester Multicultural Network four years ago by Jennifer Flaherty, Special Education Teacher at Lynch Elementary School. Since then, to draw attention to autism, there has been an annual gathering at the Winchester Common for a Light It Up Blue Lighting Ceremony with guest speakers. Each year, the event has become larger and more inclusive. The scene is both heartwarming and remarkable with most people wearing something blue or holding blue balloons. This year, the Lighting Ceremony will be on April 26 at 7 pm. Speakers will be Jennifer Flaherty with some of her students and John Williams, an award winning collage artist who is also on the autism spectrum. William’s collages will be on display at the Winchester Public Library for the month of April.

Our Community Lights It Up Blue

Many to the Town’s organizations and businesses are supporting autism awareness at the Lighting Ceremony on April 26 or all month long at their establisments. The Winchester Public Library will have a screening of the multi-award winning movie Temple Grandin on April 21, at 6:30 pm in the Large Meeting Room. The movie will be introduced by Winchester resident and nationally acclaimed artist, John Williams, himself on the autistic spectrum. On display in the main lobby of the Library throughout the month of April will be William’s collages as well as books and DVDs on autism.

The Griffin Museum will display a virtual gallery of images that are blue and curated by Brian Paul Clamp, owner and director of ClampArt Gallery in NewYork City.

At Studio on the Common, resident artist Hanna White will create a piece of original art in the studio to be hung in the window. The piece will be titled “Art for Autism” and will be on display all month.

Pondview Florist will give away 100 blue carnations to the first 100 people at the Lighting Ceremony.

Dunkin Donuts will once again donate blue glazed donuts for the Lighting Ceremony. These will be available in their store all month. A window painting on autism has been commissioned.

BookEnds will have a month long display of books on autism including Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet; In a Different Key by John Donovan and Caren Zucker, and I See Things Differently: A First Look at Autism by Pat Thomas.

Kids Footstop is putting together a window display of all blue footwear — shoes, sneakers, slippers, etc.— for the month.

Scoopalooza’s Blue Vanilla gelato and Crunch-a-Saurus ice cream will be the highlighted flovors throughout April for Autism Awareness.