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YMCA Oakville Youth Peace Award winner donates painting to Oakville Public Library

March 30, 2018

2017 YMCA Oakville Youth Peace Award winner and autism artist Aiden Lee has generously donated a custom painting to Oakville Public Library (OPL) in support of resources for children’s with developmental disabilities. The painting, which will be displayed in the library’s Iroquois Ridge Branch, will be revealed at a public unveiling at the branch at 11:30 a.m. on Thurs., Apr. 5.

The unveiling takes place during Autism Awareness Week, which was intentionally scheduled as a way to promote and recognize the talents and accomplishments of individuals living with developmental disabilities.

The 14-year-old was originally commissioned by OPL to create the large 4’ by 6’ for the recently renovated branch, but requested that the funds be donated back to the library and invested in resources to assist autistic children attending library programs.

It took three months for Lee to complete his painting, using a combination of paint, wood, and pages from books to create his portrayal of both the library and the community.

“We are each an original painting, always adding new colours and designs with our choices and decisions,” says Lee. “We need to see the beauty in other people, accept them for who they are, and believe in their art.”

Before Lee began working on his creation, he took time to get to know the space and the staff to ensure his artwork blended well with the library’s atmosphere. He also instructed at an Art Night for OPL staff members to teach painting techniques while learning about them.

“Flags are great for autism awareness – they look good in the wind – but action and inclusion means so much more.” Says Lee. “Libraries mean learning and belonging.”

Lee’s painting was kept under lock-and-key until it was officially revealed to OPL’s Board on Thurs., Mar. 22.

The library is honoured to hang Lee’s meaningful and inspirational artwork, entitled “Storytime”, in its Iroquois Ridge Branch and invites the community to partake in the unveiling and visit the branch to see it first-hand.    

For more information regarding Oakville Public Library, please visit www.opl.ca.