An inventor from a small fishing town in northern Wisconsin is making quite a positive impact on the lives of children with disabilities — through art. Since the 1980s, Dwayne Szot has dedicated his life to showing children the healing and celebratory effects of making art. The incredible inventor has spent over 30 years selflessly fashioning art tools for children with limited physical abilities, allowing them to enjoy and relish the creative process.
From a young age, Szot became interested in creating art as a tool for social change. Growing up as a foster child, he was inspired by the interactions he had with his foster siblings with disabilities such as cerebral palsy. As an adult, he decided to spend his life helping kids like them, and kicked it off with the first version of his painting wheelchair, which he completed in the late 1980s.
Since then, the artist has forgone the typical artist’s dream of fame, in exchange for one of helping as many kids as possible. His quirky inventions allow kids of all abilities to directly engage in making colorful, fun art. In addition to the painting wheelchair, Szot has also developed a giant art roller that can be attached to a walker, allowing kids to print colorful shapes as they stroll across the floor. The Walk Chalk and Roll attaches to wheelchairs so kids can use sidewalk chalk. Other tools allow kids with muscle control difficulties to use them both as a prop or walking device, while simultaneously adding their flair to massive murals.
Szot has changed the lives of so many children indefinitely, inspiring them by allowing them to feel the creative magic of making their own art.