best buddies

Melissa and Sohlei prepare their pieces for the show at the Museum of Latin American Art.

David Starr Jordan High School has had its share of famous athletes (football players Dennis Brown and John Ross III and former Dodger Ron Fairly) and famous entertainers (TV star Bob Denver and musicians Warren G. and Vince Staples).

But let’s not forget that the school has some amazing artists on campus right now, too.

On May 30 at the Museum of Latin American Art, the sixth annual Jordan High School Best Buddies Art Show and Sale will take place. It is a chance for students with developmental disabilities to showcase their individual expressions through artwork and craft projects. The show will feature a silent auction, dance performance and a food truck. Proceeds will go to support the school’s Best Buddies club, which promotes friendship between students with disabilities and their non-disabled peers, most of whom are in the Excellence Through the Arts pathway.

“We want as many people as possible from the community to come and enjoy it,” said Annee Boyer, who is a teacher and the Best Buddy adviser at Jordan. “This is our 10th year of the Best Buddy program. Our program has grown. I see a difference in the students with integration on campus. I believe it has made a difference.”

Boyer said the bonds made between disabled and abled students continues past high school.

“This is one of the positive things here at Jordan that I want people to know about,” she added.

The theme of the show is the same since the first show in 2013: love and friendship. There will be approximately 50 pieces of art for sale. The cost per painting is a $25 donation to the club.

“I can’t tell you how great this is,” Boyer said. “When the kids see stuff in a real museum — and it’s theirs — it changes their perspective.”

Stephanie Osborne and Steven Amado work with the students in the classroom. Osborne is the Best Buddies Liaison and Amado (aka artist Chatismo) is an instructional assistant who helps the students conceptualize their ideas and then put paint to canvas.

“This show has been very successful,” Osborne said. “We sell an average of 20 to 30 paintings. We really want to bring forward the kids’ talent and allow them to have a chance to be seen.”

Amado has been a part of the program since its beginning a decade ago. He started doing street art as a kid and his work has been on display up and down the West Coast and Mexico. Amado has been working in the Long Beach Unified School District for 15 years as an instructional aide focusing on special education students.

“Over the years, the kids come up with ideas and I’m there to help,” he said. “I help kids get the work on canvas. The artwork is therapeutic for them. It’s a good way to form a bond with them through art. It’s rewarding for me.”

Admission to the Best Buddies show is free. The museum is located at 628 Alamitos Ave.

“The students have been working really hard for months,” Boyer said. “They are like ‘wow, my art work is in the art museum.’ It’s a nice event.”

For more information, contact Boyer at 562-423-1471 ext. 2256 or Osborne at 562-423-1471 ext. 2253.

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