Thrive by IU Health

October 19, 2022

Patients, Caregivers Illustrate ‘Finding Calm in the Chaos’

IU Health Simon Cancer Center

Patients, Caregivers Illustrate ‘Finding Calm in the Chaos’

Self-expression is healing expression. It comes in various forms and in this year’s CompleteLife Art Show, hospital guests will see paintings, woodworking, fabric art and more.

The annual show is located in the IU Health Simon Cancer Center atrium and continues through September 30th. In its fifth year, the show is sponsored by Heroes Foundation, an organization that focuses on providing meaningful support to cancer patients and education about cancer prevention and research. The Foundation is one of the partners with IU Health’s Cancer Resource Center.

CompleteLife is part of the Cancer Resource Center that provides holistic patient care including music, massage, and art therapy. Some of the works in this year’s art show were created by patients through art therapy.

Included in this year’s show, “Finding Calm in the Chaos,” is a painting by Teresa Altemeyer who was treated at IU Health for chronic lymphocytic leukemia and breast cancer. The watercolor is titled, “The Calmness of Nature.” In her artist statement, Altemeyer writes: “Nature, gardens, and flowers in particular have served to create serenity in my family for generations. When stress and anxiety are at their highest and harsh realities of daily living seem overwhelming, especially in the world of cancer, we have always escaped to the gardens that my grandmother, sister, and myself have created and lovingly tended.”

The portrait for the art show depicts Altemeyer’s youngest daughter, Amy, who is a nurse practitioner specializing in cancer treatment. The vibrant watercolor shows the daughter in a garden and farmers’ market near her New Jersey home.

“These last few years, layered with COVID-19 in combination with cancer, have been extraordinarily difficult for the medical profession,” writes Altemeyer. “I hope those affected have been able to find the gardens in their life that give them peace.”

Also in this year’s art show is a hand-dyed cotton piece by Kate Reuschel, who was treated at IU Health for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The piece is titled, “Repeat for Calm,” and is part of a series. In her artist statement, Reuschel writes: “I can’t sew as much as I used to before cancer (too much nerve damage) and I am spending my time using all my scrap fabrics to make wall art for the home. The repetition of seeing the pebble-like pieces is extremely calming. It is almost a meditative state I am in while sewing around each one.”

The CompleteLife Art Show will kick off “First Fridays” at the Harrison Center for the Arts. October 7th and continue at the Center through October 30th.

- By IU Health Senior Journalist, TJ Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org

Related Services

Leukemia

A cancer of the blood caused by the bone marrow producing abnormal white blood cells that crowd out healthy ones.