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World-Renowned Artist Credits Autism as His Muse


“The Mona Lisa”

By Robin Loving

Imagine awakening in your ‘50s to find that not only are you, though untrained, a prodigious, gallery-worthy artist, but that you also happen to have a form of autism known as Asperger’s Syndrome, which you soon determine is responsible for your gift. This is just part of Michael Tolleson’s story, which he will share at Rotary on Tuesday, November 14, at 12:30 p.m. at Hotel Misión, Salida a Querétaro 1, free and in English.

Tolleson is a professional artist, author, advocate, and speaker who is known as a savant, which means he has profound capacities in excess of the normal range despite a diagnosis that would otherwise seem somewhat limiting. His Asperger’s Syndrome allows him to function very highly in the realm of art. In fact, in his five-year painting career, he has completed more than 800 gallery-worthy paintings, most done in less than two hours.

“I cannot take credit,” said Tolleson. “Autism is the artist within me,” he concluded. Regardless of the source of his muse, he is being given credit by authors, competitions, the media, galleries, and autism organizations around the world. He is currently writing an advice book while teaching art to autistic youth.

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who come together to make positive, lasting change in communities all over the world. For more information, contact President Fred Collins at and see


Rotary Presentation

World-Renowned Artist Credits Autism as His Muse

Tue, Nov 14, 12:30pm

Hotel Misión

Salida a Querétaro 1



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