Deep Forest

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

Deep Forest, Acrylic on canvas, 18" x 36", undated

In her own words:

In late 2010, 5 months after getting married, I noticed a lump in my left breast. I had cysts in the past and figured it was another. I went for a mammogram to be sure. Yes, a cyst, but there were abnormalities seen in my right. An ultrasound and biopsy determined I had carcinoma in-situ. I needed a lumpectomy and radiation and have been cancer free since. I believe in mammograms. They can save your life!

I was working on a commission from the Oregon Park District (Illinois) to paint a historical mural while undergoing treatment. The mural was my therapy. Painting always helps me through. It takes me to a state that is purely a gift from God. There are times when I finish a painting, I step back to examine it, and truly don't know exactly how I did it.

Nancy Early online

This page was first displayed
on December 06, 2017

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