On Saturday, May 5 staff from Creative Unbound and the Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship (TICFE) will host a launch party for local artist and Scholars with Diverse Abilities graduate M.T. (Tyler) LeBlanc.
LeBlanc will hold a public reading and book signing for his first published book, Are You Ready, Freddie?, from 2:00-4:30 p.m. in the TICFE on the second floor of Peacock Hall on Appalachian State University's campus.
The event will be a family-friendly event and cookies and lemonade will be served. The event will feature a guest appearance from the book's leading character, Freddie.
LeBlanc, a Boone, NC native, is a special young man with autism who has amazing artistic talents. M. T. has created a collection of original characters that are featured in the book. Freddie, a spirited rabbit, grew up thinking he would never be ready for anything since he was always late. Freddie travels to Hollywood where he meets new friends and challenges. During his quest to become a famous actor, he discovers the importance of always being ready.
"Tyler is a remarkable graphic artist," said TICFE Director Erich Schlenker. "I hope community members will come, and bring their children for a fun story time."
LeBlanc attended Green Valley School and graduated from Watauga High School in 2015. Recently, he graduated from the Scholars with Diverse Abilities Program (SDAP) at Appalachian. Like his main character, Freddie, LeBlanc is an aspiring actor and has been involved in numerous theater productions in the Boone area.
Products featuring LeBlanc's characters that are for sale online through Creative Unbound.
"We hope to host an event each year to introduce a new scholar's project," said TICFE Program Specialist Sara Figlow, of the partnership between the center and the SDAP.
Besides drawing, LeBlanc is skilled with a sewing machine and has created many costumes and "stuffies" of his characters. Dressed as Freddie, LeBlanc has entertained groups of children and adults alike and is available for local events. For more information or to book an event, please contact Jennifer LeBlanc at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Creative Unbound
Creative Unbound displays the original work of artists with disabilities on everyday products. Our mission is to provide opportunities for artists to be engaged and self sufficient. Creative Unbound is a collaborative project between the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Scholars with Diverse Abilities Program at Appalachian State University. Learn more at sdap-market.myshopify.com
About the Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship
The Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship at Appalachian State University was founded in 2006 and is housed within the university's Walker College of Business. The center helps Appalachian students — regardless of major — faculty, staff and alumni conceive, develop, incubate and launch new business ventures, turning their ideas into reality. In 2011, the center was rebranded to include Transportation Insight in its name to acknowledge a $1 million gift that enabled the center's renovation, as well as 10 years of funding. Transportation Insight is a nationally recognized third-party logistics (3PL) company specializing in supply chain management. Learn more at https://entrepreneurship.appstate.edu.