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Fundraiser will help local artist to national award event

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By Stephen Thomas

 BROOKS - An art show will help one special local artist and his family travel to Canada, where he is due to receive a prestigious award.

Trent Altman will represent the USA at the International Naturally Autistic People Awards Convention and Festival, held in British Columbia, Canada, in October.

Trent, 36, was selected within the visual arts category. His work will be displayed alongside representatives from 70 countries.

With Bullitt County's help, assisted by the Bullitt County Arts Council, Altman and his family will be able to attend the event. BCAC will help with a fundraising event Aug. 24 at Small Town Gallery, Inc.

Betty Whitt, BCAC president and Small Town Gallery owner, said Altman's artwork would be available for purchase during the show, with proceeds donated to the Altman Family.

"(Trent) has his work studio here and he comes here a few times a week," Whitt said.

Trent's mother, Jackie Altman, is an autism consultant. She said Trent is able to communicate with others through basic needs. Jackie said Trent's art began when he was 23.

"I believe in independent living," Jackie said. "We found people to live with Trent, and the art started as a hobby for his leisure. Within six months we noticed he started to produce unique pieces."

Trent's work is described as "abstract expressionism" by Jackie, using layers upon layers of mixed media to produceimages. Trents uses a paintbrush, then scrapes and splatters, then dries and works on it again a week later.

"Some tend to look like sunlight, or a tree," said Jackie. "You get feelings from them, positive feelings. People say the art is happy and calming. He really likes colors."

Trent first began to sell pieces at various autism conferences the family attended. His works have been displayed in numerous shows throughout the Louisville area and in other states.

After a decade of work, Trent has earned numerous awards, including four international awards in the past two years, beginning with a Strokes of Genius award and exhibition at the United Nations Plaza in New York last April.

Trent was a Genius of Autism Honoree at the McCarton Foundation, also in New York, last October.

One of Trent's works, An Abstract Garden II, was selected for The United Nations Autism Awareness Stamp in 2012, selected as one of eight international artists. One million stamps were created and sold in New York and Geneva, Switzerland.

In May Trent's art was featured in the Brilliance of Autism exhibit at the Autism One Convention in Chicago.

Trent's next big event is in Bullitt County at the Small Town Gallery, where he creates some of his work. Whitt said she and the BCAC were pleased to help the family's efforts to attend the next award ceremony.

"His art has basically just improved him," said Whitt. "We'd like to get him out there."

The event will take place Saturday, Aug, 24, from 3-5 p.m. For more information call Small Town Gallery, 955-9255.

Jackie said business sponsors were encouraged to assist. She mentioned filmmakers were coming to feature Trent for a documentary, where the business could be represented.

Anyone interested in sponsoring Trent may email trentsstudio@aol.com or call (502)417-6063. For further information, or to view Trent's works, visit www.trentsstudio.com.