‘Amazing Grace’

Inspired by lost friend, Chad Cummins creates an award-winning drawing

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Chad Cummins, a resident at LifeWorks in Humboldt, shows a copy of his award-winning artwork at The Messenger. Cummins is autistic. The art he is holding won first place in a national contest called Mainly Mozart’s Mozart and The Mind. The contest was open to any North American artist who identifies as neurodiverse and is 14 and older. Hundreds of entries were received.

HUMBOLDT — After losing one of his best friends around Christmas time in 2018, Chad Cummins was inspired to draw.

“He lost a good friend earlier this year and at the time of her passing, Chad said, ‘She’s free now,’ Nicole Flett, direct support staff at LifeWorks Community Services in Humboldt, recalled. “That’s what inspired him to draw.”

Cummins is autistic. He’s a resident at LifeWorks in Humboldt.

In February, Cummins completed his drawing.

“It was his first Valentine’s Day without her,” Flett said.

Cummins’ drawing features the silhouette of a dancing woman over the music notes of the song “Amazing Grace.”

He drew the woman free-hand and colored her in using an artist’s marker.

Cummins’ piece won the top prize in a national art contest. The annual contest is called Mainly Mozart’s Mozart and The Mind. The contest was open to any North American artist who identifies as neurodiverse and is 14 and older.

The submissions were to have a music theme.

Hundreds of entries were received.

Cummins’ drawing was shipped to San Diego for the contest. He also submitted a self portrait.

On April 23, LifeWorks was notified that Cummins was a finalist.

Then, on April 30, Cummins found out he won.

Cummins summed up learning he won in a word.

“Happy,” he said.

His piece will be auctioned off. All of the proceeds will go to support awareness for autism.

Cummins said he first started drawing in Belmond, where he attended high school.

“I learned to do a lot of drawing in high school,” he said.

“He loved art class and vocal,” Joni Anderson, a staff member at LifeWorks, said.

At 18, Cummins submitted art for a contest called Anchor, according to Anderson.

That piece, called “How I see myself,” was displayed at a Smithsonian Museum, she said.

Anderson said Cummins has only gotten better since then.

“We can see how he has improved,” she said.

Cummins is now 27.

“He’s told me that music and art relaxes him,” Flett said.

Cummins said he was nervous when he first submitted the drawing, but that he knew all along he could win.

“The dancing girl is very neat,” he said.

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