County artist among those in Olympic art exhibit |

County artist among those in Olympic art exhibit

Eileen JoyceArtist Cynthia Scarlett works at her Grass Valley shop.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

A Nevada County artist’s illustration of a poem – written by a 73-year-old quadriplegic man determined to live his life to the fullest – will be displayed in Salt Lake City during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Cynthia Scarlett, 55, is one of 90 artists invited to participate in “One Heart, One World – Second International Exhibition of the Heart,” an art show scheduled to begin Feb. 6, two days before the opening ceremony of the XIX Olympiad.

The 90 participating photographers, painters and graphic artists illustrated poems written by people with physical or mental disabilities. Three countries are represented at the show: the United States, Japan and Great Britain.

NHK Broadcasting Corp., Japan’s leading television broadcaster, created “One Heart, One World” in 1994 to promote empathy and greater understanding of people with disabilities, Tomoko Sasaki-Lyons, an NHK representative, said in a press release.

Organizers are showing “One Heart, One World” at the Olympics because they want the exhibit to be seen by as many people as possible, Sasaki-Lyons said Friday.

The first international exhibit in 2000-01 was shown in the United States, Brazil, France, Vietnam, Australia and Japan.

Scarlett, who has a studio in the back of her gift shop on South Auburn Street in Grass Valley, said she was invited to participate in the show in August after a friend declined to pursue the project for lack of time.

Scarlett, whose work has been shown in Sacramento, Grass Valley and Nevada City, had one month to complete the painting.

She has never met Frank Breazley, the man who wrote the poem she was asked to illustrate.

Breazley, a Rhode Island resident who broke his neck 34 years ago, needs assistance to communicate, Sasaki-Lyons said.

In his poem, Breazley describes how he operates his automated wheelchair with his chin to maintain his independence and “win at his own game.”

His words struck Scarlett.

She wanted to represent Breazley as someone who continues to do the things he loves – such as writing poetry – in spite of it all.

The painting shows an individual sipping a drink with a straw in a wheelchair equipped with wheels in the shape of a heart.

On the bottom of the painting, Scarlett wrote: “driven to accomplish.”

“One Heart, One World” will be at the ZCMI Center Mall through March 17. The show has already been seen in Osaka, Japan and London, and is scheduled to be in Tokyo in March.

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