Medora Frei isn’t your typical 24-year-old.
She’s a well-known, up-and-coming abstract artist in Bismarck — but she never picked up a brush until later in life after dealing with some crushing blows…
“I have technically had cystic fibrosis my whole life, but I wasn’t diagnosed with it until I was 18,” said Frei.
If learning she had a life-threatening disorder wasn’t stressful enough, she nearly lost her husband, Sam to a pair of severe heart attacks.
“So he had one here at the house, and the second one that he had was actually in the ICU at Saint A’s and he actually flatlined that time and actually did kind of die, they shocked him, that morning, here at the house and at the hospital, like over 20 times,” said Frei
And that’s when art came into play.
Frei has always liked art. She even minored in the subject in college.
She said she uses art to de-stress. One day last year, she had a breakthrough moment with a student at a healing through painting workshop she was teaching in Bismarck.
“He pointed at one of the pieces and said, ‘I don’t know why but this piece is just sticking out to me so much.’ He explained that he was having some family problems and some depression and some things going on in his life and he’s like, ‘I want to buy this from you and I want to put it in my office so I can look at it every day because it gives me so much hope.'”
She said while working with adults is great, painting a smile on a child’s face with a private session is what she loves doing the most…
“They’ll say, ‘I’ve noticed that my child really has anxiety and I’ve tried some things and I don’t want to put them on medication or I don’t wanna do this, do you think this [painting] will help them?’ and I say, ‘totally, let’s try it.'”
And it’s that, the joy of teaching someone how to paint, and hopefully easing their burdens along the way, that Frei said is better than any masterpiece she could put on a canvas.