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Published: Tuesday, 8/16/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Disabled artist launches dream business

Jeannine Dailey, a disabled artist starting a custom mural business with the help of a project funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, displays her art at Shared Lives Studios and Gallery in Toledo. Jeannine Dailey, a disabled artist starting a custom mural business with the help of a project funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, displays her art at Shared Lives Studios and Gallery in Toledo.

Nearly three decades after part of her brain was removed when a virus caused life-threatening swelling, a Toledo artist and instructor is launching a custom mural business with the help of federal stimulus dollars.

Jeannine Haynes Dailey — a 49-year-old who has had her work displayed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. — is part of a state program to give disabled residents technical support to start small businesses. Roughly 50 disabled residents in nine northwest Ohio counties are getting help through the program coordinated locally by the Small Business Development Center in Toledo with about $250,000 from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, said Bill Wersell, the center’s director.

Since September, Ms. Haynes Dailey has received assistance developing a business plan for Visions Murals LLC and other help. Through the program, Ms. Haynes Dailey can access experts from the center, as well as the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission and Goodwill Industries.

Without a team of experts, Ms. Haynes Dailey said, she likely would have been unable to open a business, something she has wanted to do for the last few years.

“I would have liked to have thought I could, but no way,” Ms. Haynes Dailey said. “They thought of every little detail.”

In 1984, when Ms. Haynes Dailey was an art student at Bowling Green State University, the 22-year-old caught chickenpox. The virus spread to her brain and caused life-threatening inflammation, or encephalitis, and part of her brain had to be removed.

“I had to learn to walk again, talk again, potty train,” Ms. Haynes Dailey recalled Tuesday night before a gathering in a downtown Toledo gallery to mark the start of Visions Murals. “I had to start over.”

Ms. Haynes Dailey spent several months in the hospital, followed by rehabilitation. She continues to have memory problems and other disabilities, including the loss of her left eye after the virus resurfaced in 1994.

The painting of crocuses that won an award for disabled artists and was on display at the Kennedy Center was done with Ms. Haynes Dailey’s fingers because she couldn’t yet handle a brush again.

“I had to get better,” said Ms. Haynes Dailey, who started painting at 3. “I went back to painting as a way to get my fine motor coordination back.”
She added: “It was frustrating. It was very, very frustrating.”

Ms. Haynes Dailey uses acrylics to paint indoor murals for either businesses or individuals, but she also works in other mediums. She has taught art classes at the University of Toledo and elsewhere, and she currently heads up a weekly painting class at Oregon Senior Center.

One of the Small Business Development Center contractors assisting Ms. Haynes Dailey was Heather Bradley, president and chief executive of Flourishing Co., a workplace consulting firm. She said the artist has been good to work with on her business plan, marketing, and other aspects.

“She’s a very special lady,” Ms. Bradley said. “We love her.”

Disabled residents also are getting startup funding if needed as part of the program, said Mr. Wersell. Experts help the clients determine whether they have a market and viable plan so they can be profitable, he said.

“That’s the whole goal is to help them be self sufficient,” Mr. Wersell said.

Some of Ms. Haynes Dailey’s work, including the painting that was at the Kennedy Center and a photo of a mural section, will be on display through Sept. 15 at Shared Lives Studios and Gallery, 20 North St. Clair St.. Visions Murals can be reached at 419-491-0307.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:
or 419-724-6087.

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