This past Saturday night, October 22, 2022, Exceptional Minds, a non-profit and studio that trains young adults on the autism spectrum for careers in the entertainment industry, had their 10-year anniversary party at the Legends Plaza at the Walt Disney Studios Lot in Burbank.
The Walt Disney Company announced at this event that are giving a $1-million dollar grant to Exceptional Minds to help them extend their reach and further the learning opportunities that they provide their students on their path to a career in the creative arts.
Exceptional Minds and the Walt Disney Company have a long-standing working relationship that began in 2015, when Disney hired Exceptional Minds to work on Avengers: Age of Ultron. Since then, they have contributed to numerous films, shorts, and series, lending their incredible talents to end credits, visual effects work, and title cards.
The partnership between Disney and Exceptional Minds came about via the Disney Future Storytellers program, an initiative to increase access to and empower underrepresented groups, such as those on the autism spectrum.
Exceptional Minds honored Marvel’s inclusive and diverse hiring practices as well as the partnership between the two groups with the inaugural “Exceptional Impact” award. Victoria Alonso, president of physical, post-production, visual effect, and animation at Marvel Studios, accepted the award on Marvel’s behalf virtually, from Orlando.
The ceremony portion of the evening concluded with all past and present Exceptional Minds students coming on stage to The Avengers theme to pose for photographs. The sight of these incredible individuals, standing in the plaza surrounded by the handprints and signatures of dozens of Disney Legends that adorn the enclosing pillars, leaves no doubt that Exceptional Minds graduates will be added to the ranks of Disney Legends in the years to come.