Augie Webster is a ten-year-old boy with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, but he doesn't let his physical limitations get him down. In fact, Augie was inspired by Sean Greene's skateboard art to create "wheelchair art," a project that has bridged the gap between generations at Goodwin House Bailey's Crossroads, a continuing care retirement community in Falls Church, Virginia, where Augie demonstrated his process for creating masterpieces with residents.
Augie's technique for creating wheelchair art utilizes the wheels of his chair as brushes and enlists the help of Theo and Bea (his brother and sister), who assist Augie in maneuvering his chair per his directions (using his communication device) to create 18-by-24-foot works of art. Augie instructs one of his siblings to paint a pattern using colors he specifies, and after placing a sheet of paper over the paint, Theo or Bea pushes Augie around on top of the paper which results in a fun abstract masterpiece.
What began as a fun family project has expanded to benefit the older generation. "The art studio and culture at Goodwin House was tailor-made to explore making this art as an intergenerational activity," says Steve Gurney, an eldercare advocate and founder of the Guide to Retirement Living SourceBook, who helped the Webster family make the concept a reality.
The project at Goodwin House, which includes independent living, assisted living and nursing home care, was a huge success. Residents used not only wheelchairs, but other mobility devices such as scooters, walkers and rollators to create unique masterpieces all their own. Augie's wheelchair art was met with enthusiasm by both residents and staff--and Augie isn't about to stop there. Kathy Webster, Augie's mother, is currently working with other long-term care communities to replicate the program for residents.
Supporting Wheelchair Action Art
Augie's wheelchair art has become so popular, he now has his own website, Wheelchair Action Art, and his art is found on t-shirts, coffee mugs and more at CafePress.com and Zaggle.com. Augie also takes special requests for custom paintings, and all his earnings go towards art production expenses. He hopes to one day earn enough money to spread the joy of creating meaningful art with adults and children of all ages and abilities.
You can support Augie's mission by purchasing art through Wheelchair Action Art. If you're an activities professional or other staff member in assisted living, skilled nursing care, independent living or another community setting and have an interested in learning more about bringing wheelchair art to your community, you can tune in to the ProAging Community's webinar this Thursday, July 21st: "Going Beyond Bingo: Activities that Promote Engagement for All Ages and Abilities."
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