When a Mississippi mother saw a Facebook post about the latest Brooks Outside project coming to the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, she knew immediately that her 7-year-old son Davey had to see it in person.
In March of this year - out of the blue - Davey began making numbers on the walls of his home with painter’s tape. A complete surprise to his mom, Maggie, because Davey is autistic and not extremely verbal. When Davey was just a toddler, not quite two years old, he would count to 10 over and over again.
“I remember waking up to the sound of him counting backwards from 10. I'd tell everyone about this skill that seemed so advanced for his age. My baby was a genius,” Maggie wrote in a Facebook post.
And then it was gone. For a lot of people who have kids with autism, this is the cruelest part - when they lose speech. When the eye contact starts to disappear right along with big happy smiles or the basic abilities to understand. The Harrison family has made huge strides with Davey in the last four years.
"He has some functional speech, he's got several self care skills, he has no real issues with eye contact, anyone who's around him will tell you he's a very smiley happy kid. And I'm so proud and so happy to watch all of this growth,” said Maggie via Facebook.
She was thrilled to bring Davey to Brooks Outside: Tape Art. One reason is that she didn't have to tell him he can't touch anything, something that is unusual in a museum setting. Tape Art founder, Michael Townsend, and creative director Leah Smith invited Davey and his family to visit with them and Davey even helped out taping!
"In one minute the walls of isolation broke down. We were ‘normal.' Accepted. Welcomed. There was a common bond between worlds. The bond of tape and art.
"Thank you to the Brooks Museum for extending this invitation, to the artists who spent so much time talking to us about Davey and hanging out and really engaging. It's not something we experience every day and it meant so much,” Maggie posted after the family’s visit.
Click here to see the full album of Davey and his family’s Tape Art experience at the Brooks.