I met Dan Stallsworth in 1974. I had trouble understanding him, his speech distorted by the random muscle twitches and spasms symptomatic of his disability. His whole life has entailed a struggle to communicate. In his first few days at the United Cerebral Palsy Center (a school and sheltered workshop), he was placed into the “trainable” class. At his first opportunity, he crawled, pulling himself along by his elbows, across the hall into the advanced class. His determination was rewarded. I mean, what were they going to do, drag him back out?
Dan showed the same persistence in his efforts to convey his thoughts to others, at first by simply repeating words or short phrases over and over until the listener could guess what he was saying. Later he progressed through various devices that translated his movements into speech–a pointing board, an electric typewriter that he worked with his nose, and then more sophisticated voice synthesizers.
In the last couple of years, Dan has found a new way to communicate, creating artworks that he paints with a brush attached to a head-mounted pointer. He has been prolific, and his art demonstrates a talent that belies the short time he has been making it. Much of his artwork shown here has been sold, but he has produced more that hasn’t yet been publicly displayed. I going to catalogue his work and I will be showing it in a page on this site. I will provide a link to it here when it is ready. Contact us if you are interested in purchasing a painting.
If you are in the St. Paul, Minnesota area this month, stop by and see the exhibit at the Show Gallery Lowertown. It shows until March 25, 2018.