Chicago Tribune stops by the North Shore studio

October 3, 2013 By vincent-uribe

Alexandra Chachkevitch, a Chicago Tribune reporter, took some time last Friday to mingle with our North Shore artist Rebecca Turner at our Sketchbook Swap opening reception. It is a truly inspiring story.

Glenview mother shares story to inspire others not to give up when they are faced with challenges
By Alexandra Chachkevitch, Tribune Reporter
5:26 p.m. CDT, October 1, 2013

Creating a life of possibilities in face of obstacles has been Glenview resident Diane S. Turner’s mantra throughout the challenges life presented her, including the birth of her daughter.
Born healthy, at 4 months Rebecca suffered seizures that left her with a pervasive developmental delay, which affected her reading, writing and computing skills.
Despite her disabilities, Rebecca has overcome her obstacles and enjoys her life to its fullest, said Turner.
“She’s been my biggest joy and my biggest challenge,” said Turner, smiling. “You learn what’s important to focus on and what’s not. You learn where your strengths are.”
Turner, a life coach and a therapist with more than 35 years of experience, self published a book titled “Heart Wisdom, A Concise Companion for Creating a Life of Possibility” in March. She hopes it inspires people to not give up if they face challenges in life.
“It was a terrifying time,” said Turner, remembering first faces with the challenge of raising Rebecca.
Looking back at the tough times, Turner said she feels blessed.
“Becs loves art. She loves to sing. She’s just like everybody,” Turner said.
Rebecca, now 29, has a busy schedule very much like other people her age.
Artistically and socially minded, Rebecca paints four days a week at the Glenview studio of The Arts of Life, a Chicagoland nonprofit that serves adults with and without disabilities.
She also volunteers and works part-time at the Glenview Park Center on Fridays and goes to a Jewish Sunday school.
“I like working,” said Rebecca, who started participating with The Arts of Life about three years ago.
On a recent Friday night, Turner and her son, Seth Turner, Rebecca’s older brother, came to see his sister’s artwork during an exhibition the nonprofit hosted as part of its new event, Sketchbook Swap. Artists from the organization’s Chicago and Glenview studios paired up over the course of the past three months.
The piece Rebecca created as part of the project was nestled on a wall in one of the corners of the art studio, next to a sketchbook she shared with another artist for creative ideas.
The abstract painting titled “A Tree” boasted bright yellow, pink and light green colors.
“Little we knew she had an amazing talent,” Turner said.
Turner said last year she held a fundraiser for The Arts of Life, which has been around since 2000, where 30 pieces of Rebecca’s artwork were sold.
“It was amazing,” Turner said, with pride for her daughter’s achievements. “I’m waiting for the next batch.”
And Rebecca said she’s happy where she is as well.
“We color, we paint, we draw,” she said as she showed visitors around the art studio. “It’s really cool.”
Seth Turnersaid his sister has been one of his greatest teachers in life.
“I always try to make her laugh,” he said of spending time with Rebecca. “We just like being silly.”
Together, Seth, Diane and Rebecca spend time regularly and are not different from other families, Turner said.
Just like most mother-daughter relationships, Turner’s quality time with Rebecca includes manicures and shopping. The two frequently go out to get groceries and cook together.
“I’m so filled with gratitude for all the abundance in my life,” Turner said, adding that she hopes her story and experience can help other people who are having a tough time.
achachkevitch@tribune.comTwitter @chachkevitch