CSA Artist Spotlight: TJ Christian
There’s a healing aspect that comes from my work. I am a multi-talented artist with Matheny Medical & Educational Center’s Arts Access program. I especially want my paintings to act as a source of healing for people who may be facing challenges. As a client of Arts Access, I work with professional artist facilitators who assist me in crafting original works in dance, painting, digital art, and writing.
I am a professed man of faith, continually offering words of encouragement to others and haven't let life’s challenges prevent me from excelling as an all-around artist. Some of the titles I have bestowed upon my paintings reflect that fact. "The Unifying Cross," "My Living My Life on the Rock," and "The Square of Life" are just a few. Another one of my paintings, "The Cross and the Light", was sold several years ago at Full Circle, Arts Access’ annual stage production and art exhibit. I have sold a number of other paintings as well.
My Art is Spiritual, Life Experiential & Funny
Some of the venues where my works have been displayed include Grounds for Sculpture, UMDNJ Medical School, Full Circle, Arts in Healing Coalition’s juried exhibit, The Atrium Gallery, and VNA Headquarters. My writings have been highlighted in the Arts Access compilation titled Writes of Passage. Writing is another of my passions. My essays are playful, insightful, and include topics such as family, faith friendship, and disability. My writings touch on a lot of different things.
I also enjoy my work as a choreographer. I am currently creating a solo dance piece to commemorate my one-year anniversary at Matheny’s Hillsborough Adult Learning center. I look at choreography as a mobile expression of how I feel. I want to honor the people who have been here at the program to welcome me back. I want to honor them for making me the person that I am this year.
My faith in God is as important to my work as it is to my personal life. I try to pray before doing what I do. I let the spirit guide me in all avenues of art that I do in life. It’s been in my writing and in my dance more so I try to make it worshipful.
In addition to all that I have on my plate, I am also one of ten artists chosen to participate in the second year of CSA (Community Supported Art Garden). Through the project, which is a partnership between Arts Access and Arts Unbound, artists with developmental disabilities create original or limited edition fine art. The works include paintings, wearable art and jewelry. Five of the artists are from Matheny. They all receive on-the-job training and are given a stipend to create 50 pieces of art, which are available for sale.
For additional information, visit www.artgardenusa.org.
Matheny’s Arts Access program provides individuals with disabilities with the opportunity to create art without boundaries. Through the use of innovative systems and techniques, clients can take part in the visual, performing and literary arts. Participants choose everything from the paint color and brush stroke to a dance or theatrical movement to the written word. The program makes this possible by bringing participants together with professional artist facilitators. The facilitators consciously maintain a sense of neutrality throughout the creative process. They provide a process for the client artists to create works that are purely their own.
Art Garden CSA
The Art Garden CSA (Community Supported Art) is based on the model of Community Supported Agriculture programs. The community is made up of any individual or group who purchase one of the available shares. Each share contains ten pieces of art. At organized "pick-up" events, buyers will have the opportunity to meet the artists. During the year, the featured artists will work with the Art Garden team to take part in vocational practices such as self-promotion, relationship building and social media. CSA, which is a Kessler-supported project, is a partnership between Arts Access and Arts Unbound. Art Garden CSA is grateful for the generous sponsorship of the Second Chance Thrift Shop, the Fannie & Morris Sklaw Foundation & The Friends of Matheny.