The ARTNADO Art Fair was conceived with the ultimate goal of helping artists showcase their work and themselves. This indoor event will take place at the South Florida Fairgrounds Expo Center on November 14th and 15th, 2015. With double the normal exhibition space and the lowest price per square foot, Director, Jack Busa, has furthered the attempt to include artists who have financial and physical limitations through “The Director’s Discretion” category. Please note that Artnado is sponsored by Artistic Synergy, not to be confused with Art Synergy. The Rickie Report is humbled to share the artwork of Laurietta Oakleaf, the first to achieve this honor. We know you will be inspired by her artistry and story.
Jack Busa tells The Rickie Report, ” The first “Director’s Discretion” space has been awarded to Laurietta Oakleaf of Wellington, FL. We are honored to help Laurietta exhibit her artwork, not only for her artistry itself, but for how she exemplifies hope and courage. We met her at ArtiGras, 2015, at the “Emerging Artists” area.”
“….Learn to live life minute by minute, to take every
opportunity that you are given as a blessing, and reach
for your dreams…” Laurietta Oakleaf
“Crazy Friesian” Charcoal by Laurietta Oakleaf
Laurietta Oakleaf started riding horses when she was 13 years old. She tells us, ” I have been drawing for over 25 years with no professional training. I have recently decided to start trying to promote and sell my drawings in hopes of getting a gallery to show my artwork.”
“Working Service Dog” by Laurietta Oakleaf (Photo Courtesy Fine Art America)
She explains, ” I’ve suffered from epilepsy since I was 16 and developed Chronic Inflammatory Demylenating Polyneuropathy (AKA “CIDP”) in 2001. This disease started out as Guillian-Barre syndrome, knocking me down flat and giving me a wake-up call to slow down and enjoy life and my family/friends. I was completely paralyzed from the neck down for about a month and eventually got feeling back into my upper body, but was paralyzed from the hips down for 18 months. I eventually have been able to walk in leg braces, but I still have constant episodes and any one episode could put me back forever… but so far, I am walking and this is due to my riding and my horses! Most doctors have told me that I should not be walking or I would never walk again. I did surprise them because I believed that I would and never gave up!
Laurietta Oakleaf (Photo Courtey of Laurettia’s Website)
“Years later, I was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma stage IV on the day that my grandfather died of Pancreatic Cancer. That was hard but I remembered how HARD my grandfather fought and he was someone that I looked up to. I now see that he is my angel and has been helping me fight and giving me strength on a daily basis. The lymphoma was a shock and led me to realize that life is good and to treasure everyone that has ever touched your life or been in it. When people hear the word, CANCER, they immediately think death. I came to realize that my two horses gave me a strength and helped to keep me here. Today, I am still fighting the pain from the cancer. I guess the fight will never go away, but I have found a strength within myself that I never knew I had.”
Drawing by Laurietta Oakleaf
Laurietta has been training in Florida since 2011, when she moved here, so she could take her training seriously. Unfortunately, in October this year she had another GBS/CIDP Attack and was hospitalized for months. “I had to start rehab because of how hard it hit me this time and how hard it hit my legs. I finally was just about ready to come home when in January, I ended back in the hospital for surgery and was there for another month. Currently I am trying to get back to riding Nikki and working on my tests for this year’s events. Since 2008, I have shown in many international competitions around the world for disabled equestrian dressage riders.”
Quimerico (Photo Courtesy of Mary White)
Laurietta explains, ” I hope you realize after reading this, that I want to touch ONE person and inspire MANY people to get out and live their dreams! Dreams are hard to come by and so many people give up on them… my goal is to qualify for the 2016 Paralympics. Through hard work and determination, I made the selection trials for 2014 WEG last year. Unfortunately, due to complications, financial problems, and my illnesses last year, we just could not make the selection trials to try for the World Equestrian Games, so I decided to hold off and keep training and work for this year.”
“Fairy With Flute” by Laurietta Oakleaf
“Paraequestrian dressage is dressage for the disabled, but we ride and train the same as any athlete, except we get to carry a card for dispensations to help us ride. For example, I carry 2 whips in place of my legs because of the weakness here.” Selling her artwork will help Laurietta continue to support her riding and working toward the Olympics in 2016.
“I See You” by Laurietta Oakleaf
Laurietta looks forward to participating in several CPEDI competitions this year, including: California in June 2015; Texas in October 2015; The Paraequestrian Nationals; Local Clinics; Winter Dressage Circuit USDF level in Wellington, FL; USDF Regionals for Level 1; Try out for the Friesian Breed Award; Attend IFSHA World Champions in Las Vegas. She is looking for hotel sponsors or people who will give their hotel points for her to use. She also looks forward to a European Tour next spring. All monetary donations go into the USPEA account in my name which is 501c(3). “This way whether I use this money for the CPEDI shows or for Europe, it is all monitored by the USPEA and donors know exactly where the money goes. Plus I keep yearly accounting of exactly where all my money goes so please do not ever hesitate to call and ask.”
Why should you help Laurettia?
“This is a hard question for me to answer. I believe that I would be a good representative for the USA Paralympic Team. By helping me you are also helping people around me, the people that believe in me, and the people that still need to find their strength. And I will be able to pass on your kindness to someone else. These goals that I have set are very expensive for my family and friends to keep supporting and I need your help.”
“Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” by Laurettia Oakleaf
“My personal motto is “Live life to the fullest and live to every second that you are given. A disability is only a disability if you let it be, so if you take the “dis” out of disability, you have “ability” and this is what everyone needs to remember. That any dream is capable of achieving but you have to work and believe in it.” Please consider joining me in my journey to these international shows and joining in my Parajourney with me.”
Please visit Laurettia’s website which will help you understand more about her at www.loakleaf.org . See the show pictures, results, and videos of her stallion, Nikki and her first para horse, a PRE Andalusian Stallion. Laurietta is available to speak to individuals and organizations. See her artwork on her website or http://fineartamerica.com AND Meet her in person at ARTNADO on November 14th and 15th at the South Florida Fairgrounds and Expo Center.
For more information about ARTNADO, please visit : artisticsynergy.org
Or Call 561-557-8741
For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:
Rickie Leiter, Publisher
The Rickie Report
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420