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Cleburne HS Students Display Artwork at Texas Oncology

Publication: Cleburne Times Review, Cleburne

Texas Oncology-Cleburne is displaying artwork by Cleburne High School students.

The “Nature” art exhibit is displayed in the lobby-waiting area for patients to view before they begin medical treatments. While the artwork has been on the walls since June, the reveal with the students didn’t occur until Friday afternoon.

Jeff Bernard, practice administrator of Texas Oncology Fort Worth, said the reveal was scheduled in June but several students had graduated and were on summer vacation. But former student and artist Adriana Perez was able to bring all the student artists together.

“This is a project that is close to my heart,” Bernard said. “I have several sites where I work, two in Fort Worth and Cleburne, and this is my third year doing an art project in downtown Fort Worth and our first year here.”

Bernard reached out to now retired Cleburne High School art teacher Jana Trimble last year and she commissioned her students to make art for the facility. The students were asked to make art inspired by nature.

For one student, the art project became more than just an assignment; it became a healing process.

CHS junior Ashley Rexrode was a sophomore when Trimble asked her to take part in the project. She began painting her piece in the spring when her mother Leda Rexrode was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer.

For four months Leda Rexrode received chemotherapy treatment at the Cleburne Texas Oncology location. She finished her last round in July.

“It’s been a long and difficult year but to see my daughter’s art work on the walls was so helpful,” Leda Rexrode said. “It’s so awesome. I’m so proud of her I mean, I was proud of her before all of this but this is really good for her.”

Leda Rexrode said her daughter’s art exhibit and her grandchild begin born in December will be the perfect ending to a rough year.

For Ashley Rexrode, the assignment made her happy that she could supply something good to look at as patients go through a miserable time.

Her piece shows a small deer in the middle of a forest. The piece is peaceful but somber at the same time.

Ashley Rexrode said when she found out about her mother’s diagnosis she put a lot of her own emotions into her art.  

“My mom grew up on a farm where there were a lot of deer so I decided to base my art on that,” she said. “The small deer in a big confusing place represents someone who first gets diagnosed. They can feel alone at a confusing time. The colors would have been brighter if my mom was never diagnosed. The project kept me busy and helped keep the stress out of my mind.”

Although quiet and unassuming, Ashley said it doesn’t hinder her from wanting to help people.

“I’m not sociable but I like to do nice things for people,” she said. “A trip [to Texas Oncology] can be miserable for some people and I just want to make it a less heavy experience.”

Dr.Sandya Bejjanki at Texas Oncology-Cleburne said she and her staff are appreciative of the art work.

“This brings color into the office, it’s a nice gesture and greatly appreciated by us and our patients,” Bejjanki said. “It gives them a few minutes from the medical issues they are dealing with.”

Leda Rexrode said if anything good comes out of the experience she’s had it is to encourage people to go to their doctors and not give up.

“I was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer and I’m still standing here,” she said. “Don’t give up.”

This story originally appeared in the Cleburne Times-Review. To view this story, please click here.

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