Speed painter inspires kids with learning challenges

KSN.com |  7/29/2011
WICHITA, Kansas – Kids at the FundamentalLearning Center in Wichita received an inspirational end to their summer reading program. Performance artist, Michael Potts, impressed them with his speed painting, all while inspiring them with his story.

When Potts starts painting, no one knows what’s about to be revealed. But with each stroke, an image comes to life.

”As it’s rotating, people are a little lost as to what it is and then about 10 or 15 minutes into it, I can hear people start guessing and saying, ‘Oh it’s this or oh it’s that,’” said Potts.

His art form is a strong parallel to his adolescence. Not knowing he had a learning impediment, all Potts could see was a blank future.

“When I was young, I had a reading impediment and I didn’t even know about. I even got into college and I was in and out, in and out, withdraws and F’s, withdraws and F’s.”

Potts eventually discovered his challenge and found ways to overcome it. Using art and his strengths as motivation, he eventually excelled in college and is now entering grad school.

Potts now paints in front of kids at the Fundamental Learning Center. They’re kids who are struggling to find their own strengths in the midst of learning challenges.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to get to see that just because you’re not good at school, or you struggle in school, or reading may be difficult for you, that you can go out and achieve wonderful things in different areas and aspects of the world,” said Project Coordinator, Jane Hayes.

“Hopefully if they can associate with me and realize that I too had what was considered an impediment and overcame it then they can too. Whether it be basketball, coaching, traveling or whatever that they can just delve themselves into it and find success in whatever they want,” said Potts.

Within minutes, the image on the canvas becomes clear.

Potts, who overcame his odds, reveals the image of Ray Charles; a man who overcame all odds.


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