During the month of July, the SouthShore Regional Library’s Community Art Space is dedicated to an exhibit featuring the artwork of Tom Day of Tampa. Day, a 23 year Air Force Veteran, suffered a stroke on Christmas Eve 2008. The stroke caused significant damage to the brain, which made it difficult for him to speak. It also caused right-sided hemiparesis, a condition that causes him to use his non-dominant left hand for daily activities.
Following his stroke, Day worked with Cheryl Paul at the University of South Florida (USF). Paul specializes in treating adults with neurogenic language disorders. In order to help supplement Day’s speech, Paul gave him a pad and pencils and suggested that he draw. Prior to his stroke, Day had little interest in drawing or painting. Not only did Day begin to draw, but he began to explore the process of oil painting using his non-dominant left hand.
Dolores Coe is an accomplished artist, resident of Ruskin, and a Studio Instructor in the USF Art-In-Health Program. Coe works with Day at USF. She encouraged him to submit his paintings for consideration by the SouthShore Regional Library’s selection committee.
Coe said, “Tom discovered capabilities that he never knew existed. For him, the discovery of remarkable visual memory is a gift.”
Day was a Test Flight Engineer in the Air Force. Coe added, “Tom used to identify himself as a pilot who could no longer fly. Now he has an identity and focus in his life.”
The artwork in the exhibit are paintings that Day has created from his first works to current works. However, all of the art in the exhibit at the SouthShore Regional Library was created by him in his home studio and not at USF.
Day maintains an art blog called “Artist by Day” which can be found at tartistday.blogspot.com. For more information on the Art-In-Health Program, visit www.cbcs.usf.edu.
Day’s exhibit can be viewed at any time during the month of July when library is open to the public. The SouthShore Regional Library is located at 15816 Beth Shields Rd. in Ruskin.