Mags Arts is the place to learn about Margaret (Maggie) Worthen,
who was severely disabled by a brain stem stroke... 

  • to learn about her painting hand over hand with her mother...
  • to learn about resources that can help you find a creative outlet for yourself and those you love...
  • to find out more about her art therapy program...
  • to see her art work as well as her mother's... 
This site has lots of examples of creative arts projects, as well as links to other types of programs and activities related to art, disability and therapy that supports disabled people and their caregivers.

Funds from MagsArts will be used to support artists and persons with disabilities, continuing Margaret's love of community, beauty and art.

"I am doing art with Maggie because when we are painting,
she is alert, she is laughing, she is crying, and I can tell that Maggie is excited about
doing these activities.  Having something that we can do together that makes us both
happy is a gift.   Having a way for Maggie to connect to the world and share her
talents is what we all want for ourselves.  Mags Arts is a dream come true."

Nancy Smith Worthen, Maggie's mom

Maggie's Obituary

Margaret(Maggie) Lucia Worthen, 31, died on Sunday, August 2, 2015 at her home in Somerset, Massachusetts, following a nine-year struggle with injuries from a brain-stem stroke.  She was the daughter of Nancy Smith Worthen,of Providence, and Paul Endicott Worthen, of Tiverton, RI.  Maggie graduated from Smith College in 2006,where she received a BA with honors in Spanish. Born and raised in Richmond, RI, Maggie was deeply committed to the care of animals.  She worked at the South County Animal Rescue League and hoped to become a veterinarian. 

For eighteen months after her stroke, Maggie was diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state, but after participating in a Cornell-Columbia research project, doctors discovered that she could learn to communicate using eye movement, a revelation that did not surprise her parents, In 2012,several words that Maggie spoke were recorded during a research visit to Rockefeller University in New York City. Her desire to communicate was extraordinary to all who witnessed it, and greatly informed her subsequent care and treatment.  Through feature articles in the Providence Journal and the Smith Alumni Magazine, Maggie’s story has been widely circulated, and therefore she leaves behind a large community of friends, family members, caregivers, medical researchers, as well as others who heard about her life.  Maggie was both a scientist and artist at heart. 

A celebration of Maggie’s life will be held at the Westminster Unitarian Church on the 29th of August at 1 pm.  In memory of her love of art and science, donations can be made in Maggie’s name to the Everett Company, in Providence, 9 DuncanAve. 02906 and Speak Your Mind Foundation, attn: Dan Bacher, 2 Stimson Avenue, Box 1994, Providence, RI 02912.

Maggie's Art Projects
 inspired by Maggie and implemented with the help of her mother Nancy Smith Worthen

The Sunflower Story, planting seeds of love:

Mags Cards
cards made from watercolors painted hand over hand by Maggie, her art therapist and her mother.  Cards will be made from her artwork shown below.  See the News and Events page for details about meeting Maggie and purchasing some of her artwork

Mags Books: small journals covered with Maggie's watercolors will also be sold at events mentioned on the News and Events page.
The covers of Mags Books are made from her artwork.

Mags Art Gallery:

Her most recent work:

Her paintings from 2012:

Mags Dolls: pocket pins, puppets and small cloth dolls are not currently available for sale.

Maggie's Creative Arts Projects :

Photo Voices, with the RI Brain Injury Association

Using the concept from Photovoices International, which provides people a way to reflect on their own lives and to talk together about what they want to protect and what they want to make better, using cameras and storytelling, the Brain Injury Association of Rhode Island developed a PHOTO VOICES program in 2010 and 2011.  For more information about Maggie's participation, go to News and Events.

Brain Cafe/ Brain Storm, with Everett Dance Theatre

The Brain Cafe was a free series of presentations that invite audiences to Everett's research and creative process as they develop BRAIN STORM, a multimedia concert that will examine new developments in brain research and the imminent neurological revolution.  Click here to watch Nancy Smith Worthen and Everett Dance Theater's experiment with showing the experience of stroke and recovery. For more information about Maggie's participation, go to News and Events.

Jeannine Bestoso, M. Art Ed., CSOS, CDAT-R

Jeannine is a Therapeutic Arts Facilitator providing Art as Therapy through a holistic approach.  She uses Expressive Arts, Neuro-Cognitive Art Programming (this is a specific art therapy she is certified and registered in), and activities based on therapeutic theories for certain groups. She works with individuals (like Maggie) and groups.  Her website is

Jeanine creates artwork with
Maggie using a method called "hand over hand", where she guides Maggie's hand to paint or mold clay.  During the process, she lets Maggie know how she is moving her hand, so that Maggie is alert  to the experience. 

Music Therapy, at the Neuro Rehab Center at Middleboro

Music Therapist Christine Cetnar, MS, MT-BC, has begun a chorus and drumming circle at the Neuro Rehabilitation Center at Middleboro.  Those sessions are open to all residents and caregivers and provide a great outlet for brain injured clients to learn new songs and remember old ones as well as practice such skills as following direction, leading the drumming circle, solo singing and drumming and range of motion exercise.

Contact: Nancy Smith Worthen
401 487-9713
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