Living Proof Exhibit
About Living Proof Exhibit
In March 2010, Mary Ellen Cunningham and Pamela Crouch, both cancer survivors, met at a breast cancer support group. Encouraged by friends after her diagnosis, Mary Ellen had turned to photography as a way to use art to help her cope with the challenges of her diagnosis and treatment. Pamela, previously a professional writer, had been struggling with depression after chemotherapy left her aphasic and unable to work. She decided to try a new way of being creative, and began making birdhouses, painting the roofs bright pink and gifting them to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. The women recall their first meeting: "[Pamela] bounced up to Mary Ellen and said, 'I used art as therapy, you used art as therapy, I'm sure there are others who did that too . . . let's put on a show!'" Seven months later, in October 2010, Living Proof Exhibit had their first show at Bucktown Center for the Arts in Davenport, Iowa. A month later, the newly formed non-profit organization began offering their first art therapy classes, and they have been hosting annual exhibitions featuring art made by other cancer survivors ever since!
Living Proof Exhibit website
Earth Layers Triptych, Acrylic on canvas, 72" x 36", undated
In her own words:
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2015. At that time I was also just starting a large commission of 20 paintings for a public works. The journey of my breast cancer diagnosis, coming to terms and treatment were inexplicitly woven in the production of those twenty paintings. At times, I did not want to paint, but the act of painting truly helped me cope and reminded me of why we exist in this world. And why we persevere.
In my paintings of that diagnosis time, and now I intentionally pare down nature to its truest forms. By applying abstraction, I investigate the manipulation of spatial form and movement. Having cancer has given me the unique ability to cut to the core, the see the sharpened detail, to render what is precious. Because I know that this vision can cease at any time.
Connie Gross online
This page was first displayed
on December 04, 2017