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September 09, 2016

Morton artist Sherri Burritt offers hope for lives 'paused' by cancer


The first time Sherri Burritt had a cancer diagnosis she was just 38 years old.  Burritt had three small children, ages 5, 3, and 18 months. The second time she was diagnosed, 12 years later, Burritt’s children were mostly grown. Even though the diagnosis was a bit more dire — and the response appropriately harsher — the months of treatment seemed easier than before.

Read more about how Sherri relied on art during her cancer treatment.

June 10, 2016

More than just a hobby: The benefits of Art Therapy

Diane Allen turned losing her hair to chemotherapy into something beautiful.

Diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2012, Diane knew she would lose her hair from the chemotherapy treatment. "Painting silk was fascinating, something I wanted to do," she says. "When I knew I was going to lose my hair, I thought maybe I can make scarves for my head."

June 18, 2016

Creative Therapy: Making Art At Any Skill Level Reduces Stress, Cortisol Levels

Making art at any skill level — from a stick figure to academic oil painting — can reduce stress levels, according to a new study out of Drexel University. The researchers found that pretty much anyone could benefit from making art, despite initially holding the belief that people with past artistic experience would benefit the most.

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September 07, 2016

Cancer survival art at the Figge: 'I was an artist, not a cancer patient'


If you get diagnosed with breast cancer and you're treated with radiation therapy, you'll get used to the "radiation pose." You lay down on your back in a hospital gown with your hands above your head. You keep your arms still and turn your head to the side. You do this every day for six weeks or so.


"You get used to it, but you're terrified by it," said Gail Chavenelle, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. "It's scary, and it's frightening."


During her treatments, Chavenelle, a sheet metal artist, went to her studio to express those frightened feelings. She cut out a sculpture matching her 5-foot-tall frame on that hospital bed. She wasn't sure what she was looking for.  And then she lifted the sculpture over on its feet."It was like, bang, it looked like a warrior," she said. "It looked like a power figure, not a helpless figure."


July 30, 2016

Living Proof Exhibit honored for art therapy efforts

Gina Kirschbaum, of Bettendorf, is a three-time survivor of melanoma and loves to paint to ease her stress.

"For me, it's very relaxing. When I paint, I tend to lose all sense of time," the 51-year-old mother of three said recently. "Oftentimes, even if you've gotten through the cancer and are supposedly OK, you think about it all the time. It gives me something to do. Then I'm not thinking about that stuff when I'm painting."

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