title: Embracing Eden, Ann Chuk
publication: Embracing Community, The Eden Family of Services Annual report
author: Pamela Geisel

"Artistic" and "autistic" are separated by just one letter, and Connecticut Educator, Ann Chuk has bridged the gap. Artists in the Country, a juried Fine art show held on Chuk's 18 acre property brings the community together in celebration of artists and their work- and in support of campers at Eden's retreat center in nearby Chaplin.
 "Most of the children attending Eden's camp come from New Jersey, and I wanted to make it possible for more of our local children to attend", she says. "as a speech pathologist, I work with students who have autism, and I know how difficult it is for families to find opportunities like this."
Chuk, coordinator of preschool special education for the Windham Public Schools, reports a long time kinship with parents of students with special needs. She's also a lifelong supporter of the arts; her late husband, Steve, was a woodworker, and both daughters are part of the Artists in the Country team.
 The two day event draws three dozen top notch artists annually, offers musical entertainment to please any taste and owes its success in large part to the energies of volunteers who come from miles around. Attendance topping 1,000 has enabled Chuk to fund
Eden "camperships" for eight Connecticut youngsters since 2001.
 Chuk is especially fond of the show's school component- artwork on display from about 300 regular and special education students in 15 area schools. Equally gratified are the young exhibitors themselves. "I'm an Artist in the Country!" was one seven year old's proud announcement this year.