Melinda Priebe

South Bend

I have always loved art. It inspires, encourages and teaches in a way that words can not describe. It's helped me be keep occupied in times that I had to be still as a child. I still draw or something when I need to focus on something other then my problems.
Many times when people are grieving or discouraged art in a card or something to hang on a wall or made into a magnet goes deeper then words. It is something that they can look at anytime they need to be comforted or encouraged. Art is also away for a traumatized person to speak up when the nightmare they lived through can't be expressed in words. Art is away that people speaking a different language can communicate with one another. It has been turned into maps that give us directions. It also has told us about people form long ago, their history, culture, environment and the animals that walked amongst them.

I never took my art talent for granted, but thought I would never lose this ability. Then in 1995 a traumatic brain injury took my art talent away. I was told that I would probably never regain it. Faith and determination had me overcome the obstacles of not being able to see shades of color, depth and not being able to coordinate my hands to form what I saw in my head or on paper.

I still have some issues that this traumatic brain injury caused, but I am now able to paint and draw. I was able to illustrate a book that I also wrote called My Book of Fun Animal Facts. This book has helped teach children geography and important facts about three animals living in each continent. It also teaches about safety and the love of zoos.
I am very thankful that my art talent was restored. Not only for my benefit, but to benefit others. Art is wonderful and hope it always remains embraced like a treasure.

Happy 50th Anniversary NEA. You are very appreciated.