Diagnosed as learning disabled and perceptually impaired since childhood, due to racing thoughts and flashes of vivid images running through his mind, Mays Landing’s Romare Gilbran Wilson found a way to develop as an artist, support himself and live independently.

The 29-year-old, who also was diagnosed with a serious thyroid condition, works in mixed media. He sells his work at area art venues and at a flea market at the former Delareto’s bar and restaurant in Galloway Township on weekends. And he wants to inspire others.

“It might stop some of the violence,” Wilson said, if people focused more on honing their talents.

He graduated from the Atlantic County High School in the Special Services School District at age 21, works in janitorial services for the Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing in Egg Harbor Township, and has his own home.

Wilson said his parents always focused on helping him and his sister, Richard Stockton College graduate Anjelicia, thrive despite challenges. They used great artists such as Vincent Van Gogh as examples of others who turned perceptual differences into assets.

His father, Gilberto Wilson, is an artist living in Philadelphia, and his mother, Michelle Wilson, lives nearby in Mays Landing.

“There is always something you can learn, even in a hospital,” he said. “I go to the gym, church and try to live a normal life. You can’t stop and feel bad for yourself and stuff like that. You have to keep moving forward.”

See Wilson’s work with this story at PressofAtlanticCity.com

Atlantic’s top teacher

Terry Dougherty, a third-grade teacher at Roland Rogers Elementary School in Galloway Township and a graduate of Richard Stockton College, has been named Atlantic County Teacher of the Year by Gov. Chris Christie.

Dougherty, a Coast Guard wife, established a free military tutoring service held at Stockton this summer called “They Are Heroes Too.” The program will be profiled in a Classroom Close-up special, “Schools Supporting Soldiers’ Kids,” on NJTV Dec. 15 and 21 and Jan. 19 and 25.

Meerwald art display

Images of the A.J. Meerwald, collected from artists throughout the tri-state region, will be exhibited at September's Second Friday event in Bivalve, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 13, at 2800 High St. in Port Norris, Commercial Township.

The event celebrates the historic oyster schooner’s 85th birthday, and the 25th anniversary of the Bayshore Center at Bivalve, created to restore the vessel. Ximing Guo, a professor at Rutgers Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory in Bivalve, will talk about his research on marine mollusks.

Contact Michelle Brunetti Post:

609-272-7219

Worked as a reporter for various weekly newspapers in Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties before joining The Press many moons (and editors) ago as a business copy editor. Passionate about journalism, averse to serial commas.