Artistas Cafe-Where individuals with Autism are coffee artistas.
February 8, 2011 by Real Autism Solutions
Javamo coffee’s Art for Autism foundation partners with Mercedes Benz of Tampa Bay to open the Artistas Cafe. Artistas Cafe is a coffee shop located inside the Mercedes dealership in Tampa, Florida. Similar to other local coffee shops they serve cappuccino’s, latte’s, mocha’s, tea’s and cocoas. The main difference between Artistas and the other local coffee establishments - the employees or “artista’s” (as they are called) are young adults with Autsm. Artistas cafe currently employs four coffee artista’s, who are responsible for greeting customers, taking orders, preparing drinks for customers, and handling payments. “Working in the Artistas Café is a great way for people on the autism spectrum to gain on–the-job training and to learn and practice social skills,” said Art for Autism’s founder Vicky Westra. Frank Cuteri, general manager of Mercedes Benz of Tampa, orginally considered opening a Starbucks inside the dealership, but changed his mind when approached by Javamo coffee and the Art for Autism foundation, and he saw an opportunity to give back to the community. Everyone involved hopes that this partnership will allow the community and other businesses to better understand the contribution that people with Autism and other developmental disabilities can make to the community and to businesses.