Quadriplegic Artist on Mission to Save Museum from Disrepair

An artist with a special skillset is determined to see a struggling museum in Maine get the help it desperately needs. 

Born with a rare defect, 38-year-old Jessica Jewett is a quadriplegic who creates paintings, portraits and fine art with her mouth.  

“I actually started drawing before I knew how to read and write,” she told CBS News

Her work is intricate and rich with detail.

“I want to see other people take heart in the belief that one person can make a difference,” she said.

And she's doing just that with her latest project, a mission to memorialize General Joshua Chamberlain. The Civil War hero beat incredible odds to make a significant impact on his community.

“He got shot through the pelvis and it was in such a way that it debilitated him for the rest of his life,” she said. “But he was still able to become governor of Maine and president of Bowdoin College.”

When Jewett learned Chamberlain's 200-year-old home-turned-museum was in poor condition, she set out to use the power of her portraits to change that.

“Financially, I’m not able to make donations but what I can do is turn my skills into something useful for the museum,” she said.

Jewett spent weeks sketching his home. The final product sold on her website within an hour. 

Prints are also on sale, with all proceeds going back into the museum’s restoration. Staff at the museum were touched by Jewett’s resolve to help restore the home. 

"She is not letting it stop her just like Chamberlain did not let it stop him” Larissa Vigue Picard, Director of the Pejepscot Historical Center, told CBS. “That's an incredibly powerful message.”


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