The recent passing of Ivey Hayes, a talented Wilmington resident and artist who developed a unique style that earned him numerous honors, , has charged the Arthritis Foundation to honor his legacy at the 2012 Wilmington Arthritis Walk on Saturday, October 20th at Hugh MacRae Park.
No stranger to the annual walk, Ivey’s heroic spirit and determination to push through the limitations of his arthritis inspired the Arthritis Foundation to honor him as the Adult Honoree for the 2011 Wilmington Arthritis Walk. Yet, it was Ivey’s honoree speech and his inspirational attitude that prompted the 2012 Walk Committee to ask him to return in 2012 as the Walk’s first Grand Marshall. With his recent passing, the committee will now honor his legacy as a remarkable artist whose struggles with arthritis went unseen in his great works. ”Anyone who struggles with arthritis everyday is a hero, but Ivey’s journey was truly inspirational, and it is a privilege to be able to share this with people who live the same battle that Ivey did” said Candice Fuller, Community Development Associate Director for the Triangle/Coastal Office of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Arthritis Foundation.
Widely known for his artwork that has been exhibited throughout North Carolina, Washington D.C., Boston, New York, along with various galleries and private collections across the country, in 1986 Ivey was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Nevertheless, that did not stop his undeniable talent as proven by every stroke of his paint brush.
In the 25 years since diagnosis, Ivey fought a continuing battle with the disease, as it affected his body, and most significantly for Ivey, his hands. Many artists would have stepped away from their easel, but the thought never crossed his mind. Doctors told him to continue his artwork as therapy to help him deal with the disease. And Ivey did just that, having painted nearly 4,000 pictures in the course of his lifetime. Because of the increased disability in his hands, and increased pain, Ivey continued to modify his art and his style, but continued to paint and evolve as an artist. His original detailed and realistic style of painting slowly evolved to more abstract representations where color, shapes, movement and emotion took center stage.
Phillip Hayes, Ivey’s brother, attributed Ivey’s desire to paint as the force that helped him push himself as an artist with arthritis, “He may not have had the hands you would expect of an artist, but they helped him create wonderful and inspiring artwork”, said Hayes. Well aware of his brother’s struggle, Phillip knew the impact that painting would have not only on Ivey, but on art lovers everywhere, “Truthfully his arthritis had quite an emotional impact on him, as it was often stressful to have severe and constant pain, but my brother did not let that stop him from painting and becoming an unforgettable artist in our state, region and country,” said Hayes.
Just last month, Ivey was highlighted on a national level by the Arthritis Foundation, as the subject of a feature article in the September issue of Arthritis Today, the Foundation’s nation magazine. The Arthritis Foundation recognized him as an inspiration for people across the nation struggling to cope with arthritis. The article recognized his zeal, his perseverance, and the inspirational nature of his life.
To register for the 2012 Wilmington Arthritis Walk where Ivey Hayes’ legacy will be publically honored, please visit,
About the Arthritis Foundation
Striking one in every five adults and 300,000 children, arthritis is the nation’s leading cause of disability. The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org) is committed to raising awareness and reducing the impact of this serious disease, which can severely damage joints and rob people of living life to its fullest. The Foundation funds life-changing research that has restored mobility in patients for more than six decades; fights for health care policies that improve the lives of the millions who live with arthritis; and partners with families to provide empowering programs and information.