While growing up, Tanya Krueger considered the hospital her home away from home.
Krueger, a University of Wisconsin Oshkosh radio-TV-film junior who has spina bifida and severe scoliosis, has been in the hospital hundreds of times, with some of those stays lasting months.
“I think a lot of my creativity comes from all the years spent in the hospital or sick, not able to be physically active,” she said. “And I think it’s the same thing for a lot of people in that situation.”
Krueger recently harnessed that creativity to self-publish a book featuring the poems, artwork, photography and short stories of 16 ill or disabled artists from around the world. She hopes the book, which contains some of her own work as well, will show how talented disabled people can be.
“People assume a lot of times that if you’re disabled, you have a lower IQ,” she said. “The emphasis of the book is you may have something wrong with your body, but your mind makes up for that.”
The artists featured in the book come from away as far as the United Kingdom to as close as Oshkosh. Krueger contacted them through Web sites like MySpace and Yahoo! Groups.
Krueger also is using social media to market the book, an idea she got from Dana Baumgart, a UW Oshkosh journalism instructor. She set up a Facebook page and has been profiling different authors daily.
One of the artists featured in the book, Jon Wos ’05, has won national competitions, including the grand prize of $10,000 in the 2003 VSA Arts & Volkswagen of America competition.
Wos hopes the book will give exposure to the artists and inspires people to overcome adversity.
“I think it’s a great message because it has universal application,” said Wos, who designed the cover art for the book and also contributed some artwork for the inside. “If people with disabilities can overcome these struggles, then no one has any excuses.”
Krueger plans to donate all proceeds to the American Cancer Society.
The book is available at www.bookemon.com/book-profile/disabled-bodies-able-minds/41553.