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
Funky Chicken, Mixed media, 18" x 24", undated
In her own words:
In the summer of 2008 I received the stunning news that I had melanoma. After surgery, it was determined that it was stage 3, in my lymph nodes, and very serious. The treatments slowed me down and changed everything. The melanoma has come back two more times, each time more invasive, so I have undergone a variety of treatments, including a clinical trial. Through all of this I had to quit my job and focus on me and how I want to live. I decided that my life was missing my art and creativity. I now paint every day and it brings me such happiness. I have found that it is also bringing other people happiness. I love bright, colorful art, so I think most people smile when they see it. I have now been cancer-free for five years. I do not take a single day for granted.
This page was first displayed
on December 26, 2017