Local artist without arms, legs creates intricate watercolor paintings, Valentine’s Day cards

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BOLIVAR, Mo. — Valentine’s Day is coming up in just a few weeks and an artist in Bolivar is hoping you’ll celebrate with her.

What makes Bolivar artist Minda Cox, 31, different than most is she was born without arms or legs – but that doesn’t slow her down, nor does it keep her from doing what she loves.

“Art has the ability to speak when I can’t put words down,” Cox said. “When words fail me, it can be a way to express myself.”

Cox was born in India but was put up for adoption soon after.

“My mother adopted me,” said Cox. “My mother is an episcopal priest. She is a single mom of five adopted girls. In my mother’s house, we all had various disabilities, my sisters. We were just never allowed to use our disabilities as an excuse as to not do, interact, and do things for ourselves. We were encouraged to be very independent.”

As a child, she dreamed big.

“When I was little, I loved doing art but I also loved, you know, ice skating and I want to be a cook and a dancer and a doctor and all of that but a lot of that stuff wasn’t really practical,” Cox said.

That’s when she decided to seriously pursue art.

“People are always curious about how I eat, how I draw, how I brush my hair, how I put on my own makeup or how I dress myself but when they’re looking at my art, they’re looking at my art,” said Cox. “They’re not just looking at, ‘oh this disabled person with no arms and no legs.’

“I work a lot with pencil and pen. I learned to really control watercolor and I really fell in love with it. I put the paintbrush between my arm and my chin. The color and the paint, just watching it flow and watching it blend can be a really beautiful thing.”

Though Cox goes through life having to do things a little differently than most, she says she still has a positive outlook most of the time.

“Of course I have struggles, but my life isn’t full of just pain and sorrow and I like to reflect that,” Cox said. “It’s very important that people understand that I don’t want to be set apart from the rest of the world. I want them to see people with disabilities, and not be afraid of them.”

Now, Cox is painting cards for Valentine’s Day.

She says because there are so many bad things in the world, she wants to remind people that’s not all there is.

“People need to be reminded that there is love in the world,” said Cox. “That’s what I would like people to do is approach people with disabilities and know that, hey, we are people. We want to be accepted like every other person. We want to be seen for our abilities as well as our disabilities.”

If you’d like to purchase a Valentine’s Day card or bundle from Minda Cox, you can reach out to her via email: minda204@aol.com and you can find her website here.

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