I have autism and I see the world very differently than most. I notice the smallest details that most people ignore – people have a tendency to ignore me because I have a disability. One way I see myself existing in this world is by capturing my reflection in everyday scenarios. Because my autism can be a barrier for me to relate to the “normal” world, when I capture my reflection in a window, the glass acts as a barrier to whatever is behind the window. In my artwork, the thing behind the reflection is my representation of the normal world and I am caught in another plane that runs parallel to the world in which everyone else lives. By capturing my image in this “in between” state, I’m re-inventing myself in a way that the outside world cannot ignore me anymore. By looking at my work, I am present in their world. Being present is what motivates me to create.
- Harrison Heinks, Artist Statement for Vanity
Harrison Heinks, an Edina High School senior, was named an emerging artist by VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, and part of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
In his photograph, Vanity, Harrison shows how he believes the world sees him and his existence. The theme for the 2016 Emerging Young Artist Competition was (Re) Invention, and artists were challenged to create work that “exemplifies themes of renewal and self-discovery.”
Harrison remembers well the day he took the photograph. It was late spring, and the sky was gray. “It was the perfect day to get great colors and depth,” he said. “When I heard I received the award, I was first shocked, then I exploded to joy and happiness.”
The 15 Emerging Young Artist winners will travel to Washington, D.C., this week to kick off the yearlong national tour of the (Re) Invention exhibition. This will be Harrison’s first trip to the nation’s capitol, however it is not the first national trip his art has provided him. In 2013, Harrison earned a gold medal in the National Scholastic Art & Writing competition for his sculpture, The Homeless Shoes, which led to a trip to Carnegie Hall in New York City.
“I am proud that my art has gotten this far,” Harrison said. “Many people get to see the emotion my art portrays. I wonder what they will say. I just want to be known in the world, and there is so much goodness in the world that can be portrayed.”
While Harrison’s photograph shows how he believes others see him, he described how he would like to be seen. “I want others to see me as a good person. A normal kid with a fantastic mind,” He said. “I like my autism; it’s a part of me, like my very soul. Without it, I would be a blank slate."
"I am really excited about getting together with my friends, and math and getting smarter!" - Josh, 4th grade
"I'm excited for how the school is going to look when it's done with the new spaces." - Mia, 11th grade (left)
"I'm taking photography and am pretty excited to see how that turns out." - Kayla, 11th grade (right)
"I am really excited about the planning efforts going on this year around what a true middle school will look like next year." - Tami Jo Cook, South View Middle School Dean of Students
“Since I was about eight to 10 years old, I have been interested in cyber security.” Ethan Emmons (right) is one of 10 interns with the District Media and Technology Services (DMTS) department this summer.
Ethan, a sophomore at Edina High School (EHS), is in his second summer interning with DMTS. “This is a way to learn the basics about computers so I can learn the advanced stuff more easily,” he said.
“When I was in ninth grade, my Project Lead the Way (PLTW) teacher, Ms. Ramirez, told me about it,” said Lillian Brown (bottom left), an EHS Class of 2016 graduate. Brown is in her fourth summer as an intern. Even though she graduated in May, she decided to spend her summer with the district before starting college at the University of Minnesota Duluth this fall to study mechanical engineering.
It is a similar story for Precious Ayelomi (bottom right), an EHS junior, whose PLTW teacher, Tim Berndt, suggested the opportunity to him. “I had always wanted to learn more about how the district works,” Precious said, “and I couldn’t say no to Mr. Berndt.”
The interns were responsible for a variety of tasks, from reimaging computers to helping distribute Chromebooks at Get Connected Days. And in addition to the technical skills students learn over the summer, they also learn how to work together as a team. “Getting to know the other interns has been fun,” Lillian said. “I am a really quiet person,” Ethan added. “This has improved my speaking and collaboration skills. I already feel more confident when I have to speak in front of a class in high school.”
Precious, who looks forward to pursuing aerospace engineering after high school, said, “If you have heard about this internship and are still thinking about it, go for it. 100 percent!”