artist paints a picture of hope
By Jennifer Kowalewski
MANSFIELD -- Raven White spent a half hour trying to capture his home in Fredericktown on paper.
When finished, the 10-year-old Propect Elementary School student put his hand over the structure and smiled.
"That's my mom's room," he said.
White, who is deaf, was one of more than 20 children invited by the Mansfield Sertoma Club to attend a demonstration Tuesday by Ashland artist Cinda Motter, who spoke about living with a hearing disability at Mary Lou Henne's drafting store and art gallery, Henne's Art Cellar Gallery.
Sertoma Club Treasurer Merris Welge said the organization provides information and items to teachers working with the hearing-impaired and organizes outings for the children.
Students of Debbie Reynolds-Boggs and Lori Long's Prospect Elementary School class not only were treated to a discussion of art Tuesday, but they also got a chance to create some of their own artwork.
"The kids are able to enjoy themselves," Welge said. "And they are about to do artwork with a real artist. The artist is a person with a hearing loss and still is successful in her adult life."
Welge said the program teaches the kids they can be whatever they want to be.
Motter said she was thankful her teacher taught her to read and write. When she read books, though, she often pulled out a pencil and tried to draw the images she saw.
"That was how I got started being an artist," she said. "If you want to be an artist, always draw, always paint."
But not only can these children be artists, they can be anything from firefighters to hair stylists, Motter said.
"Your hearing handicap does not have to stop you," she said. "You'd like to go to college, then you do it."
One girl in the class said she wanted to do just that. Another wanted to wash dogs for a living, while three boys, including Raven, wanted to be soldiers.
Mason Eisaman, 6, of Lexington wants to be a bus driver; the kindergartner's moderate to severe hearing disability should not stop him.
As Mason looked at Motter's paintings, he said he liked the picture of the artist's son holding the family cat.
That was White's favorite, too.
White plans to get a cochlear implant this month to help him hear.
Motter said she received her implant five years ago.
She said White will have to ask family and friends what some sounds are. The boy said he wants to hear his parent's voices for the first time, as well as the barking of his dog, Snowball.
Unlike the other children, Anika Bronson, 11, can hear, but she has a problem listening. The Mansfield girl has an audiosensory problem, which makes it hard to understand what she hears sometimes.
As she walked through the gallery, she said she hopes to be a gospel singer, but wants to focus on art, too. She planned to use some of Motter's work as inspiration.
One drawing shows a teenage girl on a bed, which Bronson said she would like to try to draw at home using her cousin as a model.
"I learned that (Motter) can draw real pretty," she said.
For information on the Sertoma Club, call Welge at (419) 529-6718 or Ken Majoy at (419) 756-1057.
Help Kids Hear is a site dedicated to helping parents of deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) children. We are parents of hard of hearing kids and simply want to "give back" to the community. We welcome your comments, questions & suggestions. Please drop us a note at email@example.com.