Despite illness, Nadine’s art lives on

Lauren Crist

Grad student’s work is on exhibit though tumor prevented her from finishing it

Several of Nadine’s art work consisted of pieces found in nature around Kent or during her travels to Ecuador and Honduras. Lauren Crist | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Editor’s note: Nadine Schreyer’s brain tumor impairs her speech, and she could not provide comment for this story.

Doctors diagnosed 36-year-old graduate student Nadine Schreyer with a brain tumor in April. Because the tumor was so advanced, doctors were unable to remove it.

“It just shocked everyone,” said Mary Schreyer, Nadine’s mother, “but you just do what you can do.”

Nadine had been working on her thesis art exhibition, but because of her illness, she was unable to continue. But professors, family members and fellow students worked with Nadine to help put the show together.

“We all felt blessed to have an opportunity to make her show happen and letting her family see such a positive and passionate part of her life,” said Kelly Wells, a sixth-year sculpture major who helped put the show together. “She’s been working so hard to get to this point.”

Her exhibition, titled “Space, Place and Self: The Art of How Environment Shapes Us,” took place Saturday night at Gallery 425 in downtown Kent.

Many of her pieces reflect the places she has been and different environments she has seen.

“All of her work is about the body and a sort of sensuous geography idea about place and space and self,” said Isabel Farnsworth, an associate professor of fine art in sculpture and Nadine’s advisor.

One piece in the exhibition showed photographs of her feet at places she has visited arranged on separate tiles, creating a central mosaic piece on the floor.

“She was always taking pictures of her feet and just of anything that struck her fancy,” said Davin Ebanks, Nadine’s boyfriend of three years.

After the diagnosis, Nadine and her mother decided that she would live at home in Kent.

“I thought, ‘Well, we’re just going to do it,’ just like Nadine would say,” Mary said. “Nadine’s a survivor and she said, ‘Come on mom, we’re just going to do it.'”

Doctors took Nadine off her medication when her mother left her home in Minnesota to live with her daughter.

“I remember her saying through the years, ‘Mom, I wish you could come cook me those good foods,’ and now I’m doing that,” Mary said. “And she’s doing just as good, if not better.”

Ebanks has helped and supported her through this process, Mary said.

“After awhile, almost anything becomes normal,” said Ebanks, also a graduate student. “When we first found out, it was pretty shocking, but it explained a lot.”

Nadine would sometimes get lost when driving by missing her exit or driving past her destination, he said.

Nadine’s long-term memory is still active, but her short-term memory has been a challenge, Farnsworth said.

“She’s seeing her work, and it brings it all back to her what she was working on,” she said. “She has a great wit to her, and she really cracks people up.”

Family members, friends and colleagues visited Nadine’s show and congratulated her. She will be graduating with a master of fine arts in sculpture.

“Through trials and tribulations and finding out that she had a brain tumor, we just continued on,” Mary said.

Contact College of the Arts reporter Lauren Crist at [email protected].