Guest artist Sheri Caldwell will headline WHAM Art Association’s fifth annual Recycle Arts Festival from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 14 at 16560 N Dysart Ave. in Surprise.
In August 1960, at the age of 6, like many children, Caldwell received a live polio vaccine. She had a reaction and woke up on a respirator with no feeling from the neck down. She spent several years in extensive rehabilitation and eventually recovered use of most of her body except for her arms.
She did not receive a traditional education that provided her with lots of time to learn her new skill, art. She left home to live with a woman who was born without arms and ultimately learned a new way of life. She began by drawing murals on the floor and pencil sketches. At the age of 10, she began working with oils. With the use of special hooks, she learned to do most everything with her feet. Later, she married and moved to Las Vegas. Feeling isolated, she decided to learn to drive and apply for a driver’s license. She passed the test and was the first person in Nevada to receive a driver’s license using her feet. Her determination and strength are demonstrated in her art as well as in her life. She raised her two children as a single mother, completed her university degree and has become an accomplished artist.
Caldwell later moved to California, participating in art shows and exhibits throughout the area. She was a frequent speaker at dinners and social functions, and a favorite guest in her daughter’s class. Today, Caldwell lives in Glendale near her son and his family and enjoys spending time with her four grandchildren, her dog and her family. She is re-entering the artist community through WHAM.
Caldwell will share her work from noon to 5 p.m. during the festival.
WHAM Art Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization of volunteers involved in the arts throughout the West Valley. WHAM is an inclusive not exclusive community organization providing visual art activities and education for all members in Arizona’s West Valley community. Some of the special programs provide art education and activities to support at-risk youth, seniors with Alzheimer’s, veterans and first-responders with post-traumatic stress disorder, in addition to many other community art activities.