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By Carissa Sitki
Jerseyville resident, Lizabeth “Liz” Fryman Chapman, has been interested in the arts her entire life and will be hosting her very first art show this Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Brookshire Estates clubhouse. She participated in art classes at Alton Senior High School and some while she was in college, but only recently has she made her grand return to the craft after a 40 year hiatus.
Fryman Chapman had not been actively drawing, painting, or creating masterpieces during her break, but found other ways to release her creative energy into the world. “When I was in the catering business, I would get up early and stage the tables and coordinate the designs and colors,” said Fryman Chapman.
Fryman Chapman’s artistic abilities were brought back to the forefront of her life last year when her niece, Sophia Phillips started up an art group at her school. The goal of Sophia’s program was to get kids together to create. Chapman was so inspired by Sophia that she decided to get back into the arts, herself.
In just the past year, since she picked the activity back up, Fryman Chapman has created all sorts of paintings, drawings, portraits, mixed-media, three dimensional sculptures, decor, and even napkin holders. She uses watercolor paint, acrylic, charcoal, oil pastels, fabric, pinecones, and more to create her works. She’s even converted her spare bedroom into her art room.
Despite living with multiple sclerosis- a chronic disease affecting the central nervous system- since 2010, Fryman Chapman has been able to jump right back into the arts without missing a beat. For her upcoming show, she has around 76 pieces; every inch of the Brookshire clubhouse is covered with her art.
Since MS causes pain in her muscles and joints as well as sets limitations on her physical mobility, setting up for the art show alone would have proved difficult for Fryman Chapman. The maintenance supervisor at Brookshire Estates, Troy Dugger, offered his hand to help his friend make her art show a success. “She just told me what to hang where,” said Dugger. “It was all her and I think she did great.”
Dugger, whose sister also has MS, understands some of the challenges Fryman Chapman faces and said he was happy to help her with the project. “Without him I wouldn’t have been able to get this all together,” said Fryman Chapman. “I am so grateful for all of the wonderful people in my life.”
In addition to Dugger, Fryman Chapman’s sister, Laura Rodgers of Kane, helped with the setup. “She’s my legs,” Fryman Chapman said with a chuckle.
Included in the show is a series about living with MS, including pieces entitled, “Pain-Depression-Coping,” “Confusion,” “Vertigo,” and “Unable to Walk Paths-Stairs-Play Sports like Before.”
“I want people to know, and I have to remember myself, that there is always a way to find an answer or help,” said Fryman Chapman. “That’s what these drawings indicate, you just have to find the way out of the picture.”
Fryman Chapman noted that there are many different aspects to the disease and that the symptoms vary person-to-person. “Everybody’s different,” she said, “but this series represents my interpretation of what MS can make you feel like.”
Fryman Chapman said she wants to start up an art club for others with MS since it’s sometimes difficult for people with the condition to get out and meet other people. “I think that it would be great to be able to get together and just support one another,” she said. “If there are people who are interested, I’d love to get something like that started.”
Several MS groups around the area have expressed interest in attending the show.
Some of the other series in Sunday’s show are named after important people in Fryman Chapman’s life, including her daughter, brother, sister-in-law, and neighbor. She uses first and middle names when she names a series after someone.
“I just want everybody to be happy and enjoy this because I really love doing it,” said Fryman Chapman. “It’s not about money, or anything like that, right now it’s just my hobby.”
Dugger said that his favorite thing about Fryman Chapman is her bubbly, upbeat personality. “She’s always smiling and can instantly put you in a good mood,” he said. “She doesn’t let things keep her down.”
Fryman Chapman’s art show will be held on Sunday, Oct. 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Brookshire Estates clubhouse, 1241 Brookshire Pl., Jerseyville. There will be refreshments offered, as well as live music from 9-year-old Ava Lambert who will be playing her ukulele. Some of Fryman Chapman’s works will also be available for purchase.