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      Teen with autism uses art to touch community

      Z ach Becenti has an unwavering commitment to his artwork.

      A Harbor Springs teen with autism who has a love and talent for art has captivated a community.

      Z ach Becenti has an unwavering commitment to his artwork.

      "I think my favorite one I've ever done was the New York skyline," Becenti said.

      J ust a few years ago , Becenti wouldn't have said a word to me or his teacher. Z ach has autism , which is a group of complex disorders of brain development.

      "A lot of autistic people have a specific talent and Zach definitely has that," Linda Richards, Harbor Springs teacher said.

      T eachers started to take notice of his artwork when he created a portrait of his favorite president.

      "T here was a point in time where he started drawing John F. Kennedy and suddenly there were portraits all over the school," Allen Talcott, Harbor Springs Art Teacher said.

      R ichards has been Becenti's teacher for six years. At first he didn't interact with people easily, until he discovered his talent and gained confidence.

      "H is artwork was one of the tools that helped us open up this wall he was enclosed in ," Richards said.

      H is art started to get noticed by other students in school . Becenti started making friends and found an audience for his work.

      "I f they liked it and I just keep on making more and make more cooler detailed ones for them to see," Becenti said.

      Becenti graduates in June. He plans on going to college for art and continuing to grow along with his work.

      "H e's just a different person and I think that's because of his artwork," Richards said.