Cumberland University


CU Exhibit Marks Eckler's Inspiring Return


Kathy Eckler

In the spring of 2007, Kathy Eckler's life changed in an instant. The long-time artist and educator was stricken by a brain disorder that disrupted her memory and left her unable to communicate. If she survived, doctors said she would likely suffer permanent brain damage.

A return to the art world, where she had enjoyed critical acclaim and recognition, seemed less likely.

As a result of a still-unexplained drop in her sodium and potassium levels, Eckler was diagnosed with a brain disorder known as aphasia. Nearly one million people in the United States are impacted by aphasia, although the condition is most often linked to strokes. Those stricken by aphasia often lose the ability to communicate, comprehend and to read or write.

Less than a month after the event that changed her life forever, Eckler showed remarkable signs of improvement. Progress was slow and labored -- Eckler had to rebuild her memory of life from age five -- but her memories slowly began to return, and her creative passion was not far behind.

Now, the Adams Gallery at Cumberland University is proud to host Eckler's triumphant and inspiring return to art. Through October 2, the Adams Gallery will feature an exhibit of new works by Eckler.

"My life has been so enlightened by the fine arts. I can't tell you how it comes from my heart. I want to share it like I've never shared before," Eckler, who has served as an art instructor for the Wilson County School System and Cumberland University, said. "I want to try everything. It's kind of exciting to jump into it all over again ... The paintings in this exhibit are part of a continuing project inspired by rediscovery, reflection and renewal."

On Thursday, Sept. 11 from 5 until 7 p.m., the Adams Gallery will host a reception for Eckler. On Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 11 a.m., Eckler will give a talk at the Gallery as part of the exhibit. Both events are free and open to the public.

Located in the Bill & June Heydel Fine Arts Center on the CU campus, the Adams Gallery is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, please call 615.547.1364