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East County Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018 1 year ago

Art spreads awareness of autism in Manatee County

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New mural at East County winery intended to draw attention to autism.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Sarasota artist Truman Adams spent a sunny afternoon at East County's Fiorelli Winery and Vineyard Feb. 23, but he wasn’t drinking wine.

Instead, he had a paintbrush and his vision of butterflies and vines, which he painted in a mural across an exterior wall of the winery. It wasn’t a paying gig, but it was rewarding.

“I hope it helps Face Autism,” he said. “This definitely is about community awareness.”

Face Autism Inc. is a nonprofit that provides support groups, classes and other resources to families affected by autism. Adams came up with the design and the butterflies, which are featured in Face Autism’s logo.

Adams’ 21-year-old daughter, Aurora, is affected by autism. 

Under a nearby tree, East County’s Matt Bruback, a retired Minor League baseball player and entrepreneur, lounged cross-legged on a picnic blanket. Friend and fellow Sarasota Jeep Club member Yvonne Berger sat beside him as they watched Adams at work.

As founder of the Sarasota Jeep Club and Face Autism’s volunteer event director, Bruback is organizing a March 11 “Jeepin' for Face Autism” fundraiser at Firkins Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, 2700 First St., Bradenton. Sarasota Jeep Club members are supporting Face Autism with a $20 donation for the event, which will include performances by Dynasty Dance, an auction of a painting by Adams and food. The public can attend at no cost.

Fiorelli Winery is an event sponsor and offered wall space for the autism-themed mural. 

Winery owners Erik and Tara Hall plan to incorporate the mural into their winery tours.

“My wife is a child psychologist,” Erik Hall said. “She sees children and she knows about autism. It’s one of those things that’s not understood. Kids are labeled as shy, quiet or misbehaving, but in reality, it’s not that.”

The winery had a Face Autism mural painted in the same spot two years ago, but siding on the building had to be replaced.

“(The mural) was always part of our tour. People asked, what is it? We’ll have a new story now,” Erik Hall said.

Bruback is thankful for the opportunity.

“Things like this really inspire people — something as simple as a mural,” Bruback said.

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