Artprize entry 'smashing stereotypes' of disability

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — One West Michigan artist was born without the ability to draw with her hands. As it turns out, a talent is a talent, it’s just a matter of finding a way to express it. 

Rynita Shepherd was born with a talent.

“Where some kids were in soccer and gymnastics, art was my extracurricular and it’s what I’ve done my whole life,” she said.

Shepherd was also born with a congenital condition known as Arthrogryposis. 

“It basically makes it so your arms and legs don’t have the same extension as average people,” she explained. “The range of motion is limited.”

That means she has limited use of her hands and feet. When she started drawing and taking art classes as a young child in Kalamazoo, teachers encouraged her to use her hands anyway.

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