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Talented Artist Tackles It All

Artist moves outside the perceived boundaries of the developmentally disabled and creates art that's interesting and exciting.

Superhero-inspired costumes and creativity are par for the course for many young men. Such is the case for Chris Saglimbene, a resident of Matheny Medical & Educational Center in Peapack. A natural-born artist, Chris enjoys sharing his love for all things related to music, painting, video games, sports, and more.

Born in Albany, New York, Chris’ family resides in Fort Lee. His participation in Matheny’s Arts Access Program began at the early age of thirteen. The program facilitates and fosters the work of artists with developmental disabilities. Chris started with painting, creating vibrant pieces of art in which he often used (and continues to use) a splatter technique. Chris says his paintings are influenced by the work of artist Jackson Pollack.

Although he sometimes prefers using dark colors in his artwork, Chris says the decision is not a reflection of his personality. He is simply taken with the intensity the colors represent. A few of his painted Munny figurines have been displayed at Johnson & Johnson in Raritan. A Munny starts out as an unpainted, vinyl figure with moveable joints. Chris has put his artistic touch on several of the figurines.

He also has an affinity for dance, drama, and creative writing. When it comes to his dance compositions, he maintains that he wants audiences to be wowed by the visuals in each piece. He describes his dances as ‘stage combat.’ Chris first tried the Arts Access dance program because he was working on a tribute to Michael Jackson that required dancers. He participated in several sessions and was pleasantly surprised for two reasons: 1) He didn’t have to wear leotards and 2) he could create dance pieces on his own terms. Not long after, Chris was hooked.

With a natural knack for writing and a love for film, Chris has also worked on action screenplays. He writes poetry as well. Chris’ work (dance and written pieces) has been showcased in past Full Circle shows.

Chris’ talent, along with that of other Arts Access participants, will be featured in Full Circle 2012: Unexpected Art. The annual fine, performing, and literary show will be presented by Matheny's Arts Access Program on December 1, 2012.

The show will dispel limitations and give the public the opportunity to experience the creations of developmentally disabled individuals. These works include everything from dance compositions and paintings to dramatic performances of written works.

Artist Dan Fenelon, who has curated Full Circle for the past 3 years, will curate the multi-media fine art aspect of the show. He is a graduate of Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts and has created murals for the Luna Stage Theatre in West Orange, the Montclair Art Museum, and for the Newark Peace Education Summit which featured a visit by the Dalai Lama. This year’s Full Circle is dedicated to the memory of former Matheny President Robert Schonhorn.

Full Circle 2012: Unexpected Art will be held at Matheny’s Robert Schonhorn Arts Center from 3-6pm. The Center is located at 65 Highland Avenue in Peapack, NJ 07977.

For ticket information, call 908-234-0011 ext. 260 or email pcats@matheny.org. Visit the Arts Access Web site at www.artsaccessprogram.org.  

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