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Artist, 77, Born with Cerebral Palsy, Showcases Work in Ludlow

Wynners Cup Cafe is holding an art show featuring artist Howard "Butch" Dieckroeger - who has lived with cerebral palsy his entire life - during Ludlow's Beyond the Curb urban living home tour on Sunday, October 9.

Wynners Cup Cafe (301 Elm Street - A, Ludlow) is owned and operated by Ludlow Mayor Ken Wynn. The art show will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to coincide with Beyond the Curb, a series of self-guided urban living tours throughout Northern Kentucky's river cities. Sponsored by The Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky, the goal of the Beyond the Curb tours is to encourage urban living by showcasing the wide array of residential product types in river cities such as Ludlow

"Since we will be showcasing our wonderful city this Sunday during the Beyond the Curb event, I decided to showcase the beautiful art work on my friend Butch," Mayor Wynn said. "So while people are touring Ludlow's great array of residential properties, they can stop in Wynners Cafe, have a cup of coffee or a cool drink, grab something to eat and see some tremendous art work from a man who is not just a great artist but who has also overcome tremendous physical challenges. It's going to be a great day in Ludlow."

Butch, 77, who was born with cerebral palsy but was not diagnosed until he was 7 years old, was raised by an artist. However, his father, Howard Dieckroeger, never showed his art. But he along with Butch' sister, Connie, were very supportive of Butch's drawings.

"In fact before I was diagnosed, I brought a drawing home from school and my father was very impressed and encouraged me to keep drawing," Butch said.

After being encouraged by family and his high school teachers, Butch attended a private art school that was owned by a local artist named Bill Gebhardt.

"Bill Gebhardt also believed in me," Butch said. "It was my stubborn belief in myself and the support I got from people who believed in me that kept me drawing when I was young."

Beginning in 1966, Butch worked in retail for nearly 20 years. But after the store he worked at was bought out, he was basically out of work.

"There were those in that era that did not believe a 'handicapped' person could do anything," he said." Therefore, I was retired from retail, but not finished with life at a very young age.  I had much life in me and too much partying and drawing to do before I would retire."

Butch said it was his father-in-law, Prentice Hudson, who was legally blind, who recognized that Butch could be eligible for disability payments. "Being my stubborn self, I didn't want to admit that I had a 'disability'. But it allowed me to survive financially and pursue my art.

"But I still have much life to live and much art to create," he said. "I will have a lot of friends and families that will join methis Sunday and I hope a lot of others come out to see my artwork."

-Staff report

Photo via Wynners Cup