Budding Missouri artist faces troubles with a smile - KMOV.com

Budding Missouri artist faces troubles with a smile

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Anthony Logan's room at the end of a long hallway looks a lot like the rooms in University of Missouri residential halls. There's a poster of the MU men's basketball team on the wall and a Tiger mascot rug on the floor. A box of Uno cards sits atop an Xbox on the entertainment center.
This is no dorm, though. Logan, 23, lives in a Columbia nursing home.
Born with spina bifida, Logan has been using a wheelchair so long that he suffers from pressure spots that require more medical attention than his family can give. He spends most days belly-down on a cot he maneuvers with his arms to give those sores a rest.
Logan's not complaining. In fact, he gets excited when he talks about his life. He's got his parents, 10 siblings, a new baby nephew and good friends who visit. And life at Columbia Health Care Center off Towne Drive isn't bad at all, he said.
"We play bingo and do other activities," Logan said. "Like, sometimes we go out shopping."
Logan is different, but not because he's paralyzed from the waist down or because his legs are disproportionately shorter than his body. It's because of his outlook on life.
"I don't get sad," he said. Two breaths later, he was ticking off a list of his life's highlights. Once, he met Carl Edwards through Edwards' wife, a doctor at Rusk Rehabilitation Center. He has a basketball signed by a couple of Los Angeles Lakers. He has a buddy who sometimes takes him on limousine rides.
Oh, and then there's his good friend Justin Cobb, a local artist who went through rehabilitation after an accident left him paralyzed. The two met at Rusk, and Cobb convinced Logan to pick up a paintbrush himself.
Before showing off his own work recently, Logan was eager to take a reporter on a tour of the nursing facility, where Cobb has painted murals in several rooms and along hallways. There's a landscape mural, for instance, in Beverly Sanders' room. The painting was there when she moved in, she said, and she likes having something pretty to see.
Logan's not at the point of painting murals on walls, but someday he hopes to draw and paint for other residents at Columbia Health Care Center, too. He envisions taking orders: Neighbors would tell him what they like, and then he'd draw it.
Right now, his small canvases reveal his own interests, mostly in sports. He's painted the St. Louis Arch and has sketched John Cena, a professional wrestler whose motto is, "Never give up."
Logan -- who's been told more than once he looks like a young Will Smith -- has a couple of fans himself. MU freshman Camille Scavone met him this year when she was volunteering at the nursing home with the Campus Christian House organization and was impressed.
"I wasn't expecting to see anyone as young as Anthony," Scavone said. "He's so friendly and welcoming."
He's pretty handy, too, said Tarah Garrison, a nurse who works in Logan's wing. "He's a great helper around here," she said. "He helps clean the dining room and does linens. He visits with staff, and he's a good friend to a lot of the other residents."
Logan has lived in the nursing home since September and will remain there indefinitely. "It's where he needs to be," Garrison said. "But I can't picture a 23-year-old with a better attitude. Most people would be depressed. He gets bored, but that's about it."
Asked if he had any advice for the rest of us, Logan said it's simple. "Just keep a smile on your face," he said. "All you have to do is keep a smile on your face."

Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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