Pasadena Teen Wins Top Visual Arts Award at World Autism Festival, Canada

Carissa Paccerelli (l) and Leonora Gregory-Collura, President and Co-Founder of ANCA

A 17-year old artist, Carissa Mordeno Paccerelli of Pasadena, received the top award at the 7th ANCA® World Autism Festival™ (AWAF). She was awarded 1st Place for the International Naturally Autistic People (INAP) Award representing the United States in the Visual Arts category.

The AWAF celebrates the talents and abilities of autistic people and the organizations that support them. It brings together award recipients and educators in the field of autism from many different countries. Event participants are provided an opportunity to collaborate and share information and learning in the field of autism. This year the INAP Awards included nominees and recipients representing 27 countries.

“I’m so grateful for winning this award this year. I am grateful to everyone who enjoys my art. I never imagined my art would get me this far. I wouldn’t have been able to receive this recognition without the help of my family and friends,” said Carissa.

Carissa began exhibiting significant talent in drawing and painting as early as age three. She has received a broad variety of awards and recognitions for her artwork, seen in numerous exhibits, art fairs, and festivals. She had her first solo exhibit entitled, “Artwork by Rissa P” in Pasadena, at age 15.

She is currently an 11th grade student at Pasadena High School in the Visual Arts and Design Academy (VADA) program. She also attends an advanced arts instruction at the Otis College Arts of Design in Los Angeles on a full scholarship awarded by the highly-competitive Ryman Arts. To know more about Carissa, visit her website at



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