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Disabled artist from The Plains artist crafts career click by click

Wednesday, Apr. 30 | By Hannah Dellinger
Despite Caroline Elgin’s disability, she is able to create beautiful art that is inspired by her love for animals, especially service dogs. 

Caroline has cerebral palsy, which was caused by trauma at birth. She uses a wheelchair and her helpful guide dog, Shelly, to get around.

While she has trouble speaking and moving her body, Caroline is an extremely bright and talented young artist. Using the mouse on her computer she is able to create art, which is then printed on canvas and coffee mugs. 

“Animals of all different kinds make me happy and I like to try to capture and share that feeling,” wrote Caroline in an email. 

Caroline grew up in The Plains and graduated from Kettle Run High School three years ago. She now attends the Art Institute of Washington-Dulles and is working toward a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Web and Graphic Design. She has learned how to build a Website, a portfolio and the business fundamentals of the industry. 

“I’m just glad that she found something that she’s good at and that she likes,” said Caroline’s mom, Carina Elgin. “When you’re sitting in a wheelchair it’s very easy to come home and sit and watch TV. But, she comes home and she likes to draw and create things.” 

Caroline has turned her passion for art and animals into a viable career. All of her art features animals, mostly dogs, in honor of the service dogs that help guide her each day. 

“People seem to like my work because they are dog lovers like me, and they can see the fun and happiness that dogs can bring people in my art,” she said. 

All of Caroline’s work is sunny, bright and happy. When you look at it, you can’t help but feel the same admiration that she has for animals.

One of the her most heart-warming pieces is titled “Service Dog Dreams.” It shows her first service dog, Sajen, with a dream bubble above his head with Caroline inside of it. 

“I made it in Photoshop and it shows my first Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) service dog, Sajen, dreaming about rescuing me,” Caroline said. “He was my best friend and helper for 10 years, from when I was 10 until college.” 

Caroline’s art is currently on display at The Studio Grooming Salon in Middleburg, which is a perfect fit for her canine-centered work.

Caroline’s artistic pieces are the first of the studio’s local dog art series. By selling Caroline’s work, the studio has helped to raise more than $400 for CCI.

The dog grooming salon will serve as a venue to display Caroline’s work for the Art in the Burg event that will take place tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

This is the first time that Caroline’s work has been on display in a solo show, and it is just the beginning for the young artist. Her work will also be shown in a studio in Boston this weekend. 

While art is a hobby and a creative outlet for Caroline, she also has big aspirations for her career. 
“People say that my work is one of a kind,” said Caroline. “Someday I want my art to be worldwide.” 

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