Despite having physical challenges, Howie Stone lead a colorful life, producing artwork that continues to inspire. Howie’s ability to connect with people through creative expression was recently celebrated as part of an exhibit entitled Rhapsody in Colorheld at Weill Cornell Medical School’s Samuel J. Wood Library on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The showcase was organized by the National League of American Pen Women-Manhattan NYC Branch (NLAPW). On Thursday, April 14, 2016, Howie’s family, including his mother Dorothy, his father Bill (a member of the AHRC NYC Board of Directors), and his sister Linda Schwartz, attended the exhibition, honoring Howie’s life and artistic accomplishments. Also in attendance were a number of AHRC NYC executives and staff who had worked closely with him.

Howie Stone's paintings

As was the case with the vast majority of pieces displayed at the exhibit, Howie’s work was typically abstract, featuring strong bursts of color.

Howie and Dorothy Stone at AHRC NYC's Camp Anne

Howie and Dorothy Stone at AHRC NYC’s Camp Anne

“Howie loved colors,” Dorothy Stone said. “My aunt and one of the aides that he worked with would do hand-over-hand coloring on construction paper. He painted for many years. I have a whole folder of them at home.

I remember meeting Howie at one of the camps and wishing he was mine. He was just so full of sunshine,” said Julia Rogge, a former AHRC NYC Board Member and a member of NLAPW, whose art was also featured in the exhibit.  She became interested in Howie’s artwork and invited the Stones to feature his paintings in the showcase.

Living a Colorful Life

Howie was born prematurely with cerebral palsy and significant intellectual impairments. Through the support of his family and AHRC NYC’s services, he was able to live a rich, fulfilling life up until his tragic passing at the age of 50 in 2010. When Howie was young, he enjoyed the card game, Color Go Fish. Playing the game helped him to learn all of the major colors, which he matched in order to defeat his opponents. Howie always loved art, particularly modern art, and enjoyed visiting museums.  He began to create paintings at an early age, using poster paints and construction paper, with assistance from family members and his health aide.

A.R.T. Facilitating Artwork

Over the years art played a major role in Howie’s development and allowed him to connect with peers and support staff on an intimate level. Later in his life, Howie joined with an artist who utilized a technique called A.R.T. (Artistic Realization Technologies). A.R.T. is a technique in which an artist is paired with an assistant who facilitates the artist’s creative choices. The assistant might provide the artist with a menu of creative options, such as choices of color, texture, size, or medium to be used. The artist communicates his or her choices through any means possible, and the assistant expedites the artwork.  This process allows artists with mobility impairments to have control over the process of their own creations.

Art exhibition at the Samuel J. Wood Library at Weill Cornell Medical School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan

The exhibition was organized by the National League of American Pen Women – Manhattan NYC Branch.

Among the people who came out to support the Stone family and view Howie’s artwork were Amy West, Chief Financial Officer; Michael Decker, Chief Operations Officer; Sharyn VanReepinghen, First Vice President, AHRC NYC Board of Directors; Darinka Vlahek, Director of AHRC NYC’s Community Inclusion Initiative; and Wolfgang Morokutti, Howie’s former camp and residential counselor.

The exhibit will be on display until June 10th. The Samuel J. Wood Library is located at 1300 York Avenue on East 69th Street in Manhattan.