Rally for Autism organizers add art events April 29 and 30

Events surrounding the annual Ruth Sullivan Rally for Autism® this weekend will include activities featuring nationally known savant artist Michael Tolleson. This is the first time that the events surrounding the rally will include art-related activities.

Tolleson, an artist with Asperger’s syndrome, is considered an artistic savant, who has created more than 700 gallery-worth paintings that are sold worldwide. He will appear on WSAZ-TV on the 4 p.m. news program Thursday, April 28, during which he will complete a painting live and will be interviewed.

The painting will be auctioned with two others at an event at the Marshall University Visual Arts Center, 927 Third Ave., which will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 29. In addition, Tolleson will give another demonstration of his work and paintings will be available for sale.

On Saturday, April 30, Tolleson will be working on a Marshall University-themed painting, which is expected to be raffled at the end of the rally activities. Tickets can be purchased up until the drawing and the purchaser does not need to be present to win.

The rally events are a collaboration among the Autism Society of River Cities, the Autism Services Center and the West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University.

Considered the fastest-growing event of its kind in the Huntington area, the overall rally event, now in its 15th year, features three components taking place concurrently Saturday, April 30. First is the Seaton and Moira Taylor 5k Walk, which is sponsored by Campbell Woods, PLLC. Next is a 5k timed run, with categories for ages 10 and under and ages 11-14, for both males and females. Third is a bicycle ride, in which participants have a choice of 10k and 40k routes.

In addition to the awards for the top participants in the walk, runs and bicycle rides, organizers of the rally will give awards to fundraisers. The Danny White Award will be given to the largest fundraiser, and first-, second- and third-place team trophies will be given to fundraising teams that raise the most money and have the most members.

“The Ruth Sullivan Rally for Autism® is totally planned and put on by volunteers,” said Elaine Harvey, lead organizer for the event. “There are no overhead expenses, only direct expenses – and all of the net proceeds are shared equally among the agencies, for them to provide their services to our local autism community in the Tri-State area.”

Further information on the weekend’s activities are available by phone at 304-525-8014 or by e-mail at rallyforautism@gmail.com.


Photo: Painter Michael Tolleson will appear in several events surrounding the Ruth Sullivan Rally for Autism® this weekend.