Your self-directed employment assistant
The Star Tribune’s Wednesday edition of Variety, “Through an Artist’s Eyes” has a story about a young man living in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, a Twin Cities suburb. Jimmy Reagan is a 24 year-old who is on the autism spectrum and who is also a visual artist. One day, as a 16 year-old, he started to draw and paint. He hadn’t received any instruction from a teacher or a mentor, he just decided one day that he was going to create something and he has been creating for the past eight years.
Mr. Reagan’s mother, his strongest supporter and advocate, has made it her mission to share her son’s work with the rest of the world. His work has been on display in West Coast galleries and in art expos in Berlin, Germany, Milan, Italy and Chicago. This month, 75 of his pieces are being exhibited at a gallery in the United Theological Seminary in New Brighton, another Twin Cities suburb.
While Jimmy Reagan’s success is noteworthy and fortunate, the path he has taken to achieve that success is not the typical path. Most of us don’t just wake up one day, start to do something, find out we are good at it and then find success, either artistically or financially. Rather, most of us have skills, be they artistic or physical or mathematical, that need to be developed, practiced and nurtured over a period of time. Even when a person reaches a level of success, they continue to learn, develop and refine those skills so their success can continue.
I was very happy to learn of this young man’s talents and to see how many people appreciate and value his work. He has been persistent in his efforts to create new work and fortunate that his mother has supported and forwarded his work to a broad audience. All of us need that persistence and support to succeed as Jimmy has. And for most of us, we need to really practice, learn and develop to successfully achieve our career goals.