Learn More About Become a Butterfly

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English author and playwright, Eden Phillpotts wrote, “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

At the McCarton Foundation we admire the unique ability that children with autism have to see the magic. They help us to recognize and appreciate the beauty in aspects of everyday life that we otherwise wouldn’t see.

For the past six years children with autism all over South Korea have shared the magic they see by participating in Korean artist Yun-Mo Ahn’s acclaimed museum exhibition series. Each has a captivating title that embodies the potential to go beyond perceived limits. The latest, Become a Butterfly is no exception and for the first time it is an international project. During the fall of 2013 thousands of butterflies were displayed at various exhibits throughout Asia highlighting the positive impacts of participation in the visual arts for children with autism and emphasizing autism empowerment. The exhibition also features a sculptural contribution selected by Yun-Mo Ahn of French artist Jacques Jarrige and the patients of a psychiatric hospital in Paris.

The McCarton Foundation is excited to partner with the Valerie Goodman Gallery to bring Yun-Mo Ahn’s Become a Butterfly to North America for the first time. To kick off the project, children with autism around the tri-state area will be invited to participate in designing their own butterflies which will be displayed at the Valerie Goodman Gallery in March followed by a special exhibit at the Port Authority of NY & NJ in April, and at the Rockefeller Preserve Gallery in May.

Participation is open to all people with autism at no cost. To learn more about the Become a Butterfly project, or if you have questions about participation, please contact us at butterfly@mccarton.org. For information about the artists contact vg@valeriegoodmangallery.com.

Yun-Mo Ahn believes that like the butterfly—which begins its life as a seemingly odd caterpillar—people may not immediately notice the magic possessed by children on the autistic spectrum. Art provides them with a means to express their extraordinary perspectives. And it is their power to reach the emotional and direct source of creation that makes Become a Butterfly a transformational experience breaking down barriers between all people all over the world.


Butterflies created by the children

Queens Museum, New York

The Art Gallery at the Rockefeller State Park Preserve

The Port Authority of NY & NJ

Workshop in Bali

Workshop with the Mccarton Foundation

Get Involved

Join our Events

Children with autism around the tri-state area are invited to participate in designing their own butterflies to be displayed at galleries and exhibitions around New York City. If you are part of a school or organization, you can request larger quantities of butterflies on the link below. All butterflies must be returned by March 6. Otherwise, we invite you to join us at one of our open sessions.

Yun-Mo Ahn will be in New York City for the month of March working with various children on the spectrum creating butterflies. Please join us at one of our events open to the public. Also, you will be able to see the butterfly exhibits in person at multiple venues around NYC. Check back for updates on new locations.

Date Location
March 8, 20014 Workshop with Yun-Mo Ahn at the McCarton School. Open to the public. Join
March 14 – April 12, 2014 Exhibition at Valerie Goodman Gallery Join
March 16, 2014 Workshop with Yun-Mo Ahn at The Queens Museum
March 23, 2014 Create Ability workshop with Yun-Mo Ahn at The Museum of Modern Art, NY Join
March 17 – April 30, 2014 Exhibition at the 42nd Street Transit Authority Bus Terminal
May 4 – June 19, 2014 Exhibition at the Art Gallery at The Rockefeller State Park Preserve located at 125 Phelps Way (Rt117, one mile East of Rt. 9), Pleasantville, NY 10570. For further information please call (914) 631 1470 ext.0

R e q u e s t   f o r   B u t t e r f l i e s


Yun-Mo Ahn & Jacques Jarrige

Yun-Mo Ahn
Yun-Mo Ahn

Yun-Mo Ahn has been exploring painting and sculpture as a universal language for more than a decade. After graduating from Seoul’s Hong Ik University, he left his native Korea to study at The City University of New York and became-as a resident of a foreign country-increasingly interested in art as a medium of instant communication beyond cultural borders. Back in Korea, Yun-Mo Ahn’s pre-occupation with the utopian dimension of iconic images as an instant means of communication was infused with a new sense of urgency when he began working with a small group of developmentally challenged children six years ago. Autism severely restricted their verbal skills, but their vivid, radiant drawings spoke eloquently of a rich interior world. Like many artists before him-Kandinsky and Picasso among them Yun-Mo Ahn became fascinated by the children’s colorful and sophisticated creations. He embarked with his six young collaborators on an ambitious walking and exhibition tour, hoping for the “butterfly effect” of the large impact of a small event. And indeed, great acclaim met their work, as the experienced artist lent his sense of structure and order to the children’s exuberant paintings. The resulting wall installations are clearly related to his own works, which often display multiple emblems spread over a large surface.

Jacques Jarrige
Jacques Jarrige

Jacques Jarrige initially studied architecture before turning to sculpture and furniture design. The disciplines of architecture and sculpture overtly inform his delicate yet dimensionally territorial objects. The large screens of his most recent Meanders series exude the ephemeral quality of drawings while simultaneously defining the space around them, especially as they create airy enclosures. Leading a workshop at a psychiatric hospital outside Paris (Hopital du Jour de St Maur) for the last 20 years has inspired many patients and also contributed greatly to the development of the pieces created and exhibited at Valerie Goodman Gallery. Jarrige’s lean and agile lines embody a gestural approach translated into furniture with all the tension of an antelope ready to spring off: fragile, vulnerable and beautiful. That kinetic is not only present in his actual mobiles, but also in pieces such as his tall Secretaire and his multi-panel screens: all are carefully calibrated balancing acts, their will to movement barely contained.


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