By Abby Whitt | Editor
Brenda Lagsse puts a bit of herself into every paper craft she makes.
Lagsse, who is legally blind, was not a craftsman before moving to Skyline Nursing Home and Rehab.
Now she transforms her bedroom into an art studio every morning, with glue, markers, scissors and plenty of paper (of all kinds) at her fingertips.
Animals, plants, cartoon characters and famous faces fill Lagsse’s room, and she often offers her art to other residents and staff.
“It makes me feel good too,” she said.
Preacher Shelby Hylton has several works of art by Lagsse on display in his room, including praying hands, a cross, and a sunflower. Hylton, himself, is an author with over 10,000 words in his current draft.
Lagsse said hanging flower baskets are her current favorites and demonstrated how close she needs to be to the table to make out what she’s doing: about an inch.
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Lagsse has several first and second place ribbons from winning art competitions at local fairs.
Skyline Community Outreach director Moses Barr said that once Lagsse found her “niche, she didn’t stop.”
“There’s a piece of her in everyone’s bedroom,” he said.
With her sight loss, Barr said, Lagsse “exercised faith” to develop her talent, instead of seeing art as something she can’t do.
Barr said many residents have filled their time during the pandemic with art projects, and it’s made the community a more colorful place.
Another Skyline award-winning artist is Curtis “Grant” Turner, whose work features clean lines and a range of neons, pastels and other tones.
Like Lagsse, Turner offers her art to friends and staff. Her first place ribbons from the New River Valley Fair and the Floyd County Fair are displayed in her bedroom.
“I thought, ‘Everybody likes this stuff and it might help them,'” Turner said.
Turner said he could color blindfolded and in the dark, thanks to an uncle who was blind. He said the skill comes in handy when the lights need to be turned off and he’s not ready to stop.
Barr, who is Skyline’s events and volunteer manager, is passionate about bringing the greater Floyd community together with the Skyline community.
He said Lagsse and Turner’s art is a testament to what residents have been doing throughout the pandemic “despite.”