"This is a painting I did of an ice cream stand in my hometown. It was owned by my neighbor. When I was young, his dog used to wander off and I would find her and bring her home. Then he would take me to the stand in the back of his pick-up truck, and let me in the back to make my own ice cream cone. When Hurricane Irene struck, the giant wooden cone adjacent to the stand's sign was destroyed. My neighbor hired me to rebuild and repaint it, before hanging it back up to attract customers."
- Kendra Rowan
High quality print reproduction for your home or office designed by artists living with homelessness or disabilities.
“Art’s power comes not from the act of creating, but from the gift of sharing one’s creations.”
Kendra dedicated her life to creative expression and volunteering her time to others in their time of need. She was a proud ArtLifting artist for one year until she passed away in 2018. It was important for Kendra and her family that her art continues to have an impact on the world, therefore, Kendra’s proceeds will be donated to ArtLifting’s Community Partners Fund. The ArtLifting Community Partner’s fund provides art supplies to art programs and social service agencies who provide support to ArtLifting artists around the country.
Kendra Rowan lived with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy called Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis. At times, this illness made art creation physically “quite painful” for her, and even forced her to stop making art altogether for a brief period. With the help of physical therapy and adaptive tools, Kendra was able to continue her practice.
Kendra’s disability influenced her artistic style. She described, “I spend a lot of time being still, and I spend this time studying that which I see.” Using primarily watercolor paint, Kendra aimed to capture the interplay between light and shadows that she observed around her. As a lifelong scholar of biology and ecology, Kendra also drew artistic inspiration from nature. She found peace in spending time outdoors and hoped to share this passion with others through her nature-themed art.
“My greatest pleasure comes from seeing something I do bring a smile to someone else’s face,” Kendra said. At age 14, she began volunteering at soup kitchens and shelters, and continued volunteer work to the extent that her disability allowed. Kendra lead a “music hour” at Common Art - a service for individuals within Boston’s poor and homeless communities that provides opportunities for participating in the arts - at which she played the piano and sung with program participants. She wrote, “I want very much to work and to contribute to this world, but I have lost many jobs because of prolonged hospitalizations and disease flares.” For Kendra, art creation provided a means of connecting with others and contributing joy to their lives. “I make art to feel purposeful. I make art to appreciate the world that I see, and to try to share a piece of that appreciation with others.”
ArtLifting empowers artists impacted by homelessness or disabilities through the celebration and sale of their artwork. Learn more here.