Friday, 30 March 2012 00:00
Kicking off Autism Awareness Month on Monday, April 2, Fork & Vine, a Glen Head restaurant is featuring the music of Massapequa resident and MHS graduate Tom Ryan. Accomplished on both guitar and keyboard, Tom is a vocalist and songwriter who performs regularly at some of Long Island’s most frequented spots. Because Tom is perfectly in sync with the world when he’s making music, his fans may not realize he has Asperger’s syndrome. It has never stopped him from being successful.
Tom’s soft-rock performance at Fork and Vine is just the beginning of a month-long celebration of autism and the arts at the restaurant. On the walls, visitors will find unusual paintings by three talented local artists on the autism spectrum.
Fork & Vine chef/owner Stuart Brown has been featuring artists’ works on the walls of his restaurant since its opening in 2010.This month, he decided to highlight paintings by some of Long Island’s most creative artists. The gallery-worthy exhibit, organized by Awe in Autism cofounder Deborah French, is currently on display at the Glen Head restaurant and will remain up through the end of April.
Maria Iliou, of West Babylon, has been featured in Artism: The Art of Autism and has won multiple awards for her art. Despite Maria’s own struggles with autism, she has singlehandedly raised a child into young adulthood. Painting, for Maria’s daughter, Athena, is an expression of her experience of the world through the eyes of autism.
Alec Leto, 17 is a student at North Shore High School in Glen Head. Just a year ago, Alec’s art teacher, noticed that he demonstrated particular talent. At the end of the course, Alec produced his first work of art, titled simply, “Apples.” A month later, “Apples” was featured in a local art exhibition. Since then, Alec has continued to paint what he sees in the world around him, putting his unique spin on each piece of art.
“I’m amazed at how Alec has progressed from that first painting to complete one after another, all wonderful and vibrant,” said Ms. French. “At 17, he’s only begun to show the world what he can do, and what his mind can conceive – and I can’t wait to see where he’ll go.”
The exhibit is on display at Fork & Vine through the end of April.
The restaurant is located at 32 Railroad Ave., Glen Head, and is open seven days a week. For hours and directions, visit the website at forkandvineny.com. For reservations, call 656-3266.