Commit Supports SMART – 2016 Autism Awareness Campaign

March 25, 2016 – The team at Commit Marketing is supporting the communication and marketing efforts of the Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy (SMART) for the eighth annual Light it up Blue for World Autism Awareness Day. Featured at the event on April 23rd will be a custom painted mural that will be lighted blue for the event.

Natalie Palumbo, a motion design major from Ringling College of Art and Design worked several days creating two murals at SMART. Palumbo’s inspiration for artistic expression stems in part to the strong connection with her older brother Anthony who has low-verbal autism.  She says; “I began drawing to cope with the loneliness that we couldn’t talk to each other. Anthony loved to watch me draw, so I used my art to communicate with my brother. His unique way of looking at the world has had a big influence on my work.”

Natalie’s mother, Carolyn, weighed in on SMART’s efforts by telling us a story about her son; “Anthony has always craved deep pressure. The more extreme the better! The first time Anthony wore the Miracle Belt, I noticed he immediately seemed more relaxed and comfortable. Nothing has ever helped Anthony feel more comfortable in his skin than the Miracle Belt.”

The goal of Natalie’s Autism Awareness Mural is to help inspire the community to bring awareness about the puzzling world of autism and sensory needs. John Gross, CFO of Firkins Automotive Group, notes the importance of these efforts stating; “I personally know several friends who have children with autism. These children are very special and I urge everyone in our community to reach out to help fight for those who have been affected by autism.“ Firkins Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram has provided a bright blue Jeep Wrangler to lend additional support to help light the world up blue this April.

The mural will be showcased during an Autism Awareness event on April 23rd 2016 at the SMART facility, between 1:00pm to 4:00pm. The event will provide a day of free fun and refreshments for friends and families of those with autism. Activities include a local jazz and reggae band, a bounce house for the kids, face painting, BBQ, and soft drinks from the Rusty Bucket.

Official Press Release:

At SMART, they strive to improve the quality of the lives of SMART Riders and their families through therapeutic horseback riding, carriage driving and equine assisted activities. Through respectful partnerships with our horses, they create an environment that promotes a life of inclusion, respect, growth and independence.