Like so many others, I have watched various annual events canceled this year. I don’t know if I would be considered hopeful or naïve earlier this year, when I expected things to return to a somewhat “normal” state during the summer months, but we still continue to see many of the activities, that we used to take for granted, join the category of “canceled” or “postponed.”

I was personally involved in planning various activities this spring and then hoping they could be rescheduled for fall and finally coming to the realization that any of these events that include a gathering of people will not take place this year.

I was pleased, but not surprised, that those at the Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism at Utah Valley University were able to find a way to move forward with their annual “Super Spectrum Showcase and Soiree Art Show.”

Defined as “an art show and performance event” by Jane Carlson, center director, this has been an ongoing event at the center each fall that encouraged the participation of artists on the spectrum.

“Artistic expression is important for everyone,” says Carlson. “Everyone needs to find a creative outlet to share feelings, share ideas, show strength, present a worldview that might be different and just share talents with the community.”

Laurie Bowen, associate director, Community Outreach for the Center, describes the show as “an important event for the community as it draws people on the spectrum as well as families and other members of the community. A place where individuals can showcase their art that would might otherwise not been seen.”

Artists of all ages are invited to submit their work in any medium. The deadline to submit work is Aug. 15. This year the show will take place online on Nov. 5. Artists will be given a link that will enable them to share their work with family and friends.

Although nothing will replace the valuable benefits of meeting face to face and celebrating the work of others, I am happy that the autism center has decided to move ahead with this event and found a way to keep people safe while still sharing their work.

If you have any questions about the event or how to submit work, Laurie Bowen can be contacted at or (801) 863-8759.

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