How I got Inspired.

I was scrolling on instagram looking at the beautiful photos of Misty Coy Snyder. She is a woman, a mother of two sons, the youngest son Jed has Down syndrome. He is a beautiful little man and the story that Misty has to tell is also very fascinating. Before she had Jed, she had an ideal image of the family she would have. The moment she heard that her youngest had Down syndrome, her dream of the future seemed to fall apart. Her life seemed to be over. Nothing turned out to be less true. Of course there are battles to be won, which often have to do with Jed’s health. But Jed is a real asset to their family. Misty now dedicates herself as a Down syndrome advocate, supporting other parents who are inundated with everything that comes their way after the diagnosis of their newborn child. For this she founded the community Happiness is Down syndrome (@happinessisdownsyndrome), a safe haven to be seen, heard, encouraged and connected. Her story stuck in my head and I approached Misty via instagram. I asked her for permission to paint her son Jed. Soon I received a positive response and my heart skipped a beat! Full of inspiration I started this project! While painting I became very happy with his cheerful look that soon appeared. When I showed my work to Misty, she was very happy and moved. I had captured Jed’s beautiful smile on my canvas and my idea to create an inclusive collection of children with Down syndrome was born.


The reason for this project is very clear to me: to organize an honest, inclusive exhibition or publish a book of photos of my art that shows how beautiful the faces of these children are. The gazes will touch the viewer and the beauty will jump off the canvas. Why are there few to no oil paintings of people with Down syndrome? Why does everything in current society seem to have to be perfect and why is the beauty of imperfection not shown more often? This beauty should and CAN be much more present and visible! With my project, I want to embrace this beauty and captivate the viewer. The child with Down syndrome gives color to my canvas and to the world. Inclusivity is a sign of love and should be self-evident. I think this exhibition can be of value in our current time. Almost everything is filtered. Everyone likes to show the perfect picture and as a result, loneliness grows. The world is not perfect and life is not flawless. So, if you only show the beauty that fits the picture, the authenticity and truth is missing. An inclusive exhibition is much more honest, interesting and therefore more valuable. After all; it tells something about everyone’s life. What is the beauty of your imperfection? Let’s go back to authenticity with the Down to Art project!

Finally, showing art with children with Down syndrome is recognition to the children and parents themselves. You are beautiful and your life matters! Your children belong here and add value to society, too. This became evident when I showed a piece of work on social media and received many requests to be part of this project. For me, this was a fantastic motivation to make this project a reality, in whatever form. A project in which everyone is welcome to behold and enjoy.