New Lease On Life For A Young Autistic Artist

Amoako Buachie, 20, a Flatbush artist with autism, has flourished since changing to PS 370 in Brighton Beach and getting help from art teacher Audrey Lacy and principal Susan Goldberg.

If you do not take into account local mobsters named Jimmy Whispers and Jojo the Whale sitting around their Belmont Avenue social club, discussing who to whack next, so many of the quotes from A Bronx Tale have this refreshing tendency to supersede their immediate surroundings and kind of philosophically explain the meaning of life.

There’s a powerful line from the film — parts of which were filmed on Gravesend Neck Road — in which Robert De Niro tells his son that “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent,” which best sums up the amazing transformation a young autistic man who “could barely control his temper, breaking out into screaming fits that were so loud neighbors called the cops” into an artist whose incredible creations are now displayed in some of New York City’s finest institutions.

Formerly a floundering student at Wingate High School, the Daily News ran a story on 20-year-old Amoako Buachie a couple of years ago and, after exposing the plight of this young man, was able to help him transfer to special needs school P.S. 370 – The Jim Thorpe School at 3000 West 1st Street in Brighton Beach. There, he not only flourishes with the help of art teacher Audrey Lacy and principal Susan Goldberg, and not only had his work on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art — twice! — but also, according to Goldberg, is now a mentor to others.

“At first he was very apprehensive to even try new things or want to be involved in the school,” explained Goldberg, who saw to it that Buachie immerse himself into the city’s deluxe art programs and set him “on an art-focused academic track.”

While it took some encouragement in the beginning, “now he’s one of the kings here,” she says.”He’s a mentor for other art classes… and has the responsibility of helping other kids learn.”

The “personal renaissance” has not only tapped the incredible potential in the acrylics painter at school, but at home as well, according to his mom, Akosua Mainu, whose son, she reports is alert, happy, and enjoys watching re-runs of “The Cosby Show.”

Buachie dreams of working as a cartoonist for Warner Bros., and he is certainly on the right track.


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