Iowa artist shares her grandmothers battle with mental illness through her art

By: Maggie Wedlake

Loras and the Dubuque community celebrated Mental Illness Awareness Week on campus with a variety of events and speakers. 

Artist Kathy Shumacher brought her exhibit to the Alumni Campus Center illustrating her grandmothers struggle with mental illness. 

The charcoal art work was created from 2012 to 2015 and has since toured several Iowa towns. 

Shumacher’s exhibit cat-a-logs her grandmother’s time in the Independence Mental Health Institute where she spent fifteen years. 

She says her work is meant to start a conversation about mental illness and remind people that it’s okay to talk about. 

Shumacher talked about what she has noticed about the conversation surrounding mental illness saying, “It was a very silent subject and showing these drawings and what I have done with them, I have had so many people that have come who in the past, well you know it was a secret and nobody in our family talked about it and you can never heal from something if we don’t get it out in the open and talk about it.”

Schumacher says the more we talk about things the more acceptable it makes them. 

She says she takes the time to share her grandmother’s story and why she believes she was put into the Independence institution to give her a voice and let her story be heard. 

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Maggie is a junior at Loras College and is from Mokena, Illinois. She is an anchor, producer, and reporter for LCTV News majoring in media studies with a minor in Public Relations and Politics.

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