When she was just 5-months-old Felicia Bowers was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. That diagnosis hasn’t stopped her from pursuing her dreams of being an artist, and now some high-tech tools are allowing her to create in a whole new way.
At the Soul Studio in West Bloomfield, Michigan art and inspiration is around every corner, and that’s where Bowers is hard at work.
“I was 13-years-old when I first wanted to do art,” she says.
Bowers uses an eye-gaze device called Tobii to type out sentences with her eyes.
Bowers has faced a lot of challenges.
“My body doesn’t work very well. I can’t control its movements,” she explains.
But the staff at Soul Studio was determined to figure out a way to help Bowers create art.
They started by trying to attach Velcro to her foot and let her paint, then they tried a helmet, but they wanted to do more.
“It must be seven months ago we had a staff meeting and I turned to Adam and I said, ‘Adam, Felicia has been here a year and a half, we have got to figure out, there must be something out there. She loves art. What can we do?'” says Bassie Shemtov, the director of Friendship Circle.
They devised a way to allow Bowers to use her Tobii to allow her to draw. It was a painstaking process, a marriage of technology and teamwork. Bowers draws lines using her eyes while her partner adjusts the digital canvas.