ARTSTORY Creative Hub: A space where the power of art is harnessed to communicate and inspire, connecting the autistic community with the wider world

21 February 2024

The World Health Organization asserts that art can help guide our emotional responses to cope with diseases or injuries. Furthermore, creativity and enjoyment in art also promote overall health and serve as a catalyst for recovery.


Similar to the development of personal skills in autistic individuals, the Autistic Thai Foundation recognizes the importance of using art as a part of the process to enhance development, both physically and mentally, including sensory perception, mindfulness, and learning. This leads to the development that enables autistic individuals to engage in daily activities and ultimately improve their quality of life.


From its origins as a tool for healing and therapy, art has evolved into a showcase of potential, creating careers and income. At this moment, art is helping to communicate and foster understanding between autistic individuals and the general population through a small space known as ARTSTORY Creative Hub.

The uniqueness of small spaces brimming with the power of creativity

Within the Autistic Thai Foundation, located in the Ratchaphruek area, there is a single-story building. On one side is a True Coffee café, while the other side houses a modest-sized studio for conducting art workshops, known as the ARTSTORY Creative Hub. What makes this place special is that almost all the staff are individuals on the autism spectrum who have undergone training in life skills and professional development, enabling them to work to their full potential and utilize their talents.


“Before, people used to say, ‘Once you’re autistic, you’re always autistic.’ But today, I believe in improvement. Many might recover,” said Mr. Chusak Chantayanon, Chairman of the Autistic Thai Foundation. “As we’ve seen with individuals like Barbara or the art instructors here, many might not appear autistic at first glance. However, if you’ve seen them since they first stepped into the foundation, you’d know they’ve come a long way.”

ARTSTORY Creative Hub

When art is a tool for practicing and rehabilitating physical, mental, and life skills

One of the key missions of the Autistic Thai Foundation is to support and foster opportunities for learning and skill development among individuals with autism. In the past, Mr. Chusak has utilized art as a tool to promote the development of autistic children. This includes training in using fine motor skills to grip pencils, pens, or brushes, along with practicing mindfulness through hands-on activities.

“It starts with drawing what they like first, then gradually shifting towards other directions to avoid getting stuck in the same patterns. Then, gradually, other skills are integrated, whether it’s writing, reading, or following various learning processes.”

“Another clear outcome is the change in behaviors and the rehabilitation of various skills in daily life. ‘Autistic behavior is repetitive. If it becomes excessive, it can be difficult to change. When children try various art activities, it helps them adapt and change repetitive behaviors in their lives as well. Feedback from home indicates that taking care of them has become easier,” explained Mr. Chusak.

Unique artwork can lead to a career that sustains oneself and one's family

Inside the modest-sized gallery adjacent to the studio, displays of beautiful and intriguing artworks catch the eye, each born from the unique perspectives of the artists. “They have a different view of the world from the general population, processing and remembering everything as images. When translated into art, it becomes uniquely beautiful,” Mr. Chusak remarked as he led the tour through the artworks.


The backstory of each piece of artwork lies in the dedication to practice, the exploration of potential, and the demonstration of development in learning skills and artistic abilities of autistic artists. The excellence of these artworks has become the foundation of the ARTSTORY By Autistic Thai project, which transforms these pieces into various products to generate income. When art can become a profession, the foundation establishes Autistic Thai Social Enterprise Company under the brand name ARTSTORY, where revenue and profits are returned to the autistic individuals who contributed to the work. Many have become skilled artists, receiving contracts from leading brands to create artwork on various products for special festivals, including bags, t-shirts, scarves, notebooks, water bottles, and even patterns on products of various brands. This enables them to sustain themselves and their families in a sustainable manner.


ARTSTORY Creative Hub: A Space Where Art Empowers Communication of Emotions and Inspiration

Drawing on the artistic expertise of autistic artists, the foundation seeks to provide a space where the public can engage in art creation alongside these talented individuals. Supported by the CP All Group and True Corporation, the ARTSTORY Creative Hub is an extension of the Autistic Thai Foundation’s True Coffee branch. It offers various art courses including drawing, sculpting, embroidery, and printmaking, utilizing the power of art as a medium to foster communication and relationships between autistic individuals and society in diverse dimensions:


Building an Inclusive Space: This serves as a prototype area that allows the general public to recognize the potential of autistic individuals.


Embracing Diversity: It opens up society to see their unique abilities, accept and appreciate diversity, and make autistic individuals feel like integral parts of society.


Skill Development and Empowerment: Autistic individuals can learn social skills and communication, boosting their confidence along with developing their professional skills.


Creative Inspiration: Art can serve as inspiration for both society and autistic individuals who are aspiring to become artists.

ARTSTORY Creative Hub

“We want everyone who participates in activities within this space to see autistic individuals as they would see any other friend. Every conversation we have with them, they will remember. When they have to go out and interact with people in society, they will know how to communicate and what words to use.” emphasized Mr. Chusak.


The opening of the ARTSTORY Creative Hub is part of a project supported by Charoen Pokphand Group and True Corporation, spanning 11 years. It began with the development of the True Autistic application, utilizing digital technology for daily life skill development. This initiative expanded to constructing a building serving as a training center for autistic individuals, providing vocational training, including barista training with True Coffee, among others. Over the years, these projects have benefited the lives of over 17,731 autistic individuals, with 186 individuals being employed under the Disabled Persons Employment Law (Section 33/35), generating income totaling approximately 300 million baht for autistic individuals and their families.

We want everyone who participates in activities within this space to see autistic individuals as they would see any other friend. Every conversation we have with them, they will remember. When they have to go out and interact with people in society, they will know how to communicate and what words to use.

Embracing Differences for a Cohesive Society

Even now, the Autistic Thai Foundation has provided career paths and income opportunities for individuals with autism in a concrete form. However, the true essence of their intention lies in creating understanding and proving that individuals with autism are dignified human beings who can contribute valuable things to society just like everyone else.

“Autistic individuals have more capabilities than many people realize. They have the potential to develop, train, and work in various professions. We now have novelists with published works and master’s students in science who aspire to become professors. However, their paths are not easy. They require preparation and collaboration among parents, teachers, to help them reach their goals.”

ARTSTORY Creative Hub

The pathways to ensure equal access for this special group may require time and advocacy from various sectors, but at least having spaces like ARTSTORY Creative Hub is a good starting point. Mr. Chusak hopes it will ignite acceptance of diversity and ultimately foster an inclusive society.

“We all in society are different. I want people to see individuals with autism as part of society as well. If we understand, respect, and embrace diversity, everyone can coexist together,” concluded Mr. Chusak.