MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Here in the Mid-South, you can find talent just about anywhere. It is not just talent that catches your eye but talent that inspires others.
Dr. Brenda Caldwell has a unique method for spreading hope.
They say one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Well, the treasure this Memphis-native has is enough for all to share.
“I tell everybody from my worst day to my best day and every day in between, I am hope on two legs. That’s me,” said Dr. Caldwell, therapist and 3D Paper Towel Canvas Sculptor.
She works in her dream room. It is a room where hope goes from abstract to in focus.
“Fifty years ago, I won an art contest. I won this whole citywide art contest. It was a big deal. Then, I completely stopped. I just literally never touched art again for 40 years,” said Dr. Caldwell.
Inspiration has a way of shaping our deepest desires.
“It was birthed 10 years ago accidentally wiping my hands with paper towel, and gave birth to this invention called 3-dimensional canvas sculpture art - taking paper towel, ordinary paper towel, and turning it into hopefully something special and extraordinary,” said Dr. Caldwell.
All of her 3D canvases are made of paper towel.
“You may use it for wiping up a spill. Listen, I see it as a potential masterpiece,” said Dr. Caldwell.
It is a masterpiece with accents of hope.
“Everything I do is around the message of hope and inspirations, so my art is the kind of art that they say is living art,” said Dr. Caldwell. “To me, hope is that thing that is an intangible that everybody knows because it makes you feel that life is going to get better... It’s all about reinventing. It’s all about being creative. It’s about seeing value in anything.”
It is a lesson Dr. Caldwell had to learn for herself.
“I’m the person that failed the first grade because I was really put down by a teacher that made me feel like I was dumb. I was called a dummy every day. It hurt my spirit,” said Dr. Caldwell. “My new teacher called me smart and built me back up. That is when I realized the power of words... I failed the first grade being called a dummy. Dummy Caldwell. Now, I’m called Dr. Caldwell as a therapist, speaker, and author,” said Dr. Caldwell.
Now, she can add artist and sculptor to her titles.
“I realized the power of words,” said Dr. Caldwell. “People need to know that they matter. People need to know that their life has purpose. So many people are searching for purpose and don’t realize it’s right there in you. It’s right there in you.”
Just like ordinary paper towel, Caldwell sees the treasure in each and every person.
“So many of us, we think that we’re just plain. We think that we’re just ordinary. If we get creative, if we tap a little deeper, we discover that there’s so much more value to our lives,” said Caldwell.
It is value, worth, and purpose, all etched by hope.
If you want to see more of Dr. Caldwell’s art, it’ll be showcased all May at the Kroc Center as the Hope on Canvas Exhibition. She will also be demonstrating to youth at the Kroc Center on May 5th.