Abstract Hope and Dreams: Insight into Autism Art Benefit Exhibition Megan H. Tollefson Hope and Dreams: Insight into Autism was a social outreach project benefiting autism research in the Phoenix Valley via an art exhibition. Autism is a widely discussed disorder that affects more than 1.5 million people in the United States. It has had a significant personal impact on my life, as I have two cousins with the disorder, as well as o the lives of millions of others. The project aimed to educate the public on autism, support families dealing with the disorder, and raise funds for essential research to better understand, treat, and prevent autism. The variety of paintings in the exhibition was meant to be representative of the many facets of autism while inspiring hope for viewers. The project also intended to advocate the arts as a viable method for communicating for collective community pulse in the face of increasing autism prevalence. The project process hoped to speak as a visual, social and most importantly, a human commentary on the current state of autism in America. My artwork was selected as the winner for the Sally A. McKenna memorial exhibition for spring 2008, and the exhibition took place in the Step Gallery in the heart of Tempe. The paintings I created and the marketing for the event allowed me to create a meaningful thesis project and combine my interest in business and the arts. I was also able to donate several thousand dollars and one of the paintings to the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center.