Even in the sea of galleries that populate New York City, it's hard to find rosters that feature artists with disabilities. The entire roster of the Dumbo based LAND—League, Artists Natural Design—Gallery, however, consists of artists with developmental delays. The 15 adult artists who are currently a part of LAND's program use the gallery’s studio space to produce drawings, paintings, and sculptures that explore through both abstraction and figuration a myriad of cultural concerns.
Gary Pini includes LAND's 10th anniversary exhibition in Paper Mag's must-see shows:
Works by [LAND Gallery] artists -- including the incredible Michael Pellew Jr. -- have been exhibited around the world and are part of the private collections of Sufjan Stevens, Mos Def. NY Mag art critic Jerry Saltz and many more.
When visiting LAND Gallery in DUMBO Brooklyn, you will invariably be greeted at the door by artist Michael Pellew who will say, “Hello, we are LAND. We are artists with developmental disabilities. I am Michael Jackson’s best friend. What is your favorite heavy metal band?”
Now in its tenth year of operation supporting artists with autism and other disabilities, the studio and gallery celebrates its anniversary, 10 Years in 1 Day, at Christian Berst Art Brut, exhibiting over 25 pieces made by LAND’s core artists who attend the studio daily. The expansive show sheds light on the extraordinary lens through which the artists see the world, a rare and intimate opportunity for the general public.
Diagnosed on the autism spectrum at an early age, Myasia Dowdell sees the world through a Technicolor, dreamlike lens. Soft spoken and extremely timid, she rarely offers a glimpse of this world, except through her art. Born in 1989 in New York City, Dowdell had difficulty communicating and socializing with other children, a common symptom of her disability. Early on, however, Dowdell began drawing and eventually learned to express her complicated thoughts through her art, exposing her fantastical universe.
Sophia Cosmadopoulos reflects on Garrol Gayden's visual explorations of Coney Island:
Coney Island, often considered one of the lasting remnants of 'Old New York,' is a seaside amusement park celebrated for its playful, homespun, dilapidated, and almost spooky charm. After World War II, the park’s popularity declined and it suffered from years of neglect. Over time 'outsiders' flocked to the park to celebrate otherness and differences in traditions such as Side Show by the Seashore Freak Show, Shoot the Freak, and the Mermaid Parade, one of the country’s largest art parades.
This iconic summer destination left a lasting impression on Garrol Gayden, an artist at LAND Gallery, a studio for adults with developmental disabilities in Brooklyn, New York.
Kenya Hanley's works on paper have the feeling of both aspiration and interpretation. Bold, decisive drawings describe a world of abundance, encoded in color and imagined connections between realms of fiction and reality.
MoMA's Associate Educator Carrie McGee introduces Masters of Puppets:
LAND (League Artists Natural Design) is a unique studio and gallery program of the League Education & Treatment Center in DUMBO, Brooklyn. At LAND, adult artists living with disabilities develop their skills in a nurturing environment, while their work is marketed to the community in a vibrant and inclusive manner. The work of LAND artists has been shown at the Outsider Art Fair, featured in The New York Times, and entered many private collections. Since 2009, Access Programs at MoMA and LAND have engaged in a creative collaboration that aims to connect LAND artists with MoMA’s collection and exhibitions, and also to challenge them to create work in new media.
Don Kaplan features Dean Millien's work in The New York Post:
For almost four decades, animals have held the key to Dean Millien’s mind; and now with a healthy dose of aluminum foil, they hold the key to his future.
Millien — an artist turned newly minted entrepreneur — has a developmental disability and lives in a residential program in Brooklyn. Yet his gift for turning aluminum foil into high art — specifically animal sculptures — has led to his work being displayed in a Brooklyn gallery and now made an integral part of the décor for the J.Crew flagship store on Madison Avenue.
January 26--28 marks the annual Outsider Art Fair, and among the established dealers involved in the soaring market for outsider artists will be a relative newcomer: the LAND Gallery. Located at 67 Front Street in Dumbo, LAND (for League Artist Natural Design) opened a little more than a year ago as an outgrowth of the League Treatment Center, a 50-year-old organization dedicated to helping the mentally and developmentally disabled.