After two strokes and a heart attack in the early 1990s limited his ability to communicate, the late Cartersville resident found a voice in painting. Never showing an interest in art before his health battles, Teague's talents thrived when introduced to the medium, creating more than 1,300 paintings in 10 years.
"He was a very vibrant business leader," said Seth Hopkins, executive director for the Booth museum. "He was a developer in Gatlinburg, [Tenn.], and owned some restaurants and was a real mover and shaker. And [he] had a couple of strokes and a heart attack in pretty quick succession and it left him basically unable to communicate. He couldn't talk and had real difficulty reading and doing other things. ... [Then] he was introduced to art and art can be a powerful therapy tool for some people. So he had no interest in art previously, had never really expressed any art talent prior to that time. I think it just flipped a switch within his brain and he just became very artistic.
"It was kind of his way to communicate. It's interesting that his subjects are so happy and colorful and filled with interaction and emotion for somebody who was essentially trapped in their body after that time. ... It's definitely a folk art-type style. It could also be classified as what's known in the art world as outsider art. What that means is people who are not formally trained in art in art school and kind of learn on their own, self taught. But the figures are very stylized. It's kind of a fanciful approach and it's kind of dreamlike -- the imagery."
Located in the Booth's Borderlands Gallery, Teague's exhibit will be on display through Sept. 2. Along with viewing his work, patrons also can learn more about his journey and the benefits of art therapy by attending the Art for Lunch program June 6. Starting at 12:15 p.m. in the Booth Ballroom, the offering will feature a presentation by Teague's widow, Diannia Teague, and Diana Gregory, an art therapist and associate professor at Kennesaw State University.
"I just hope that anyone with a disability would see that perhaps there's other avenues that they could try or even anybody who's not disabled, maybe wondering could they get into something [new]. While [his journey] is a great story in itself, when I was down there the other day a group of senior citizens came down there," Diannia Teague said, referring to visiting the Booth museum. "The words they used [to describe his art] was 'it makes me happy.' I've said this to different people that I've talked to in the past about [his] art that somebody from 2 years old to 100 can look at this art and get something out of it."
Regular admission fees will apply for the Art for Lunch program. For more information about the Booth -- 501 Museum Drive in Cartersville -- and its programs, call 770-387-1300 or visit www.boothmuseum.org.