Community ArtShare

T. B. Scott Library’s Community ArtShare program originated in 2006 with a $10,000 grant from the Mead Witter Foundation, Inc. with which secure display cases, easels, and other items were procured that have enabled the library to become a place for local artists and collectors to display their creations and hobbies. Displays featuring one or more artists or collectors are featured each month on an ongoing basis.

Emily’s Journey by Emily Lau

May 2024

Beyond Books Community ArtShare, at the T. B. Scott Free Library, will showcase Emily’s Journey, for the month of May. This is a deeply moving and emotional glimpse into the life experiences of Emily Lau. Emily was born and raised in Merrill. She attended Trinity Lutheran School and knew by 3rd grade that she wanted to be an artist when she grew up, and she meant it. After high school, Emily went to UW – Eau Claire and received a PFA in Illustration in 2014, and in 2020, she decided to make the move back to Eau Claire.

Emily shares a birthday with none other than Bob Ross. She often jokes that she was meant to be an artist based on that alone. Emily likes using acrylic paints, colored pencils and markers, but her favorite has to be graphite. “You can’t beat good ol’ pencil on paper!”

On May 12, 2023, at the age of 31, Emily had a stroke. In her words: “I had been dealing with seasonal allergies. I had taken Sudafed earlier that day without any problems. It was about time for another dose, but this time I felt a sharp pang on the back of my head. I thought perhaps it was just taking a moment to kick in, but then a second pang started. I quickly felt my face becoming numb and my vision became completely blurred. I fell as I managed to go from my kitchen table to my bedroom to get my phone and dial 911. This all happened in a span of roughly 15 minutes of taking the medicine. This was the one time I had decided to leave my door unlocked . . .  I figured I’d lock it later after I got my mail. God was certainly looking out for me extra that day. I spent a week in St. Luther’s hospital in Eau Claire before being transferred to Aspirus in Wausau to start rehab. While still at Eau Claire, I didn’t have much of an appetite and didn’t eat much until my wonderful parents brought me pizza from “The Pizza Shop” all the way back in Merrill and I ate an entire plate’s worth. Everyone at the hospital was surprised and figured that must be some really good pizza. I had double vision for quite a while that also caused nausea and I had to learn to walk again. It did affect my coordination, but I joked with the doctors and nurses that I didn’t really have coordination before this happened.  Even though I couldn’t really draw until my vision returned to normal, I asked if I could just hold my sketchbook and keep it at my side. I went from nearly bedridden to a wheelchair, then a walker and finally walking again with no equipment. After a few months of hard work and determination, I was able to move back into my apartment in Eau Claire and live independently again.”

Emily’s exhibit coincides with National Stroke Awareness Month. Emily will be showcasing a variety of prints from works that she has done in her current and past sketchbooks as that is her main source of catharsis and therapy not only during that difficult period, but throughout her life. She enjoys just letting loose and allowing the creativity to flow onto the pages. There is one page in particular that has drawings from when she was still in the hospital. Emily dated them all to keep track of her progress, and she finds it very humbling to look back on and remember how far she has come. This last year has taught Emily to not take things for granted. She says, “Whenever I get frustrated now, I just tell myself that I can stand in my shower, I can walk again and I’m living independently.

Emily’s journey continues with a goal to create and publish a collection of short stories that have no text and are strictly illustration. Just stand back and watch her go!

Past Exhibits

2024

  • The Beauty of Fabric: Wall Quilts & Vintage Ties – Peter & Dian Ritter
  • Precious Pet Portraits – Peggy McDowell

2023

  • It’s all about perspective! – Chase Davis
  • Fish Out of Water – Arnie Plamann
  • Treasured Book Boxes – St. John School 5th and 6th graders
  • Homemade Art – Local Homeschooled Children
  • Wait, that’s LEGO too? – Tim and Dawn Dunbar
  • Tena’s Kitchen Collectables – Tena Gnewuch
  • Into the Fold: Origami – Troy Hanson

2022

  • Baskets Galore and More by Cindy Leskey
  • Merrill Memorabilia – Leidiger Brewing Company
  • Wait, That’s LEGO? – Tim & Dawn Dunbar
  • Fins and Feathers of the Northwoods – Bill Pittman
  • Rocks, Canvas, and Coasters, Oh My! – Tom Lambrecht

2020

  • MAPS High School Seniors Students’ Art Exhibit
  • Conversations with God artwork by Ann M. Jaroski

2019

  • Borzoi: The Hounds of Russia from the Private Collection of Resolute Farms
  • Nautical Instruments from the Private Collection of Carl Weinert
  • MAPS High School Seniors Students’ Art Exhibit
  • Working Warriors: Military Life Beyond Combat – provided courtesy of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum

2018

  • Buttons: Advent, Christmas, Bingo and More! from the Private Collection of Kathleen Marquardt
  • “Wire & Found Object” Sculptures by David Jones
  • Photography of Tom Algire
  • For the Love of Snoopy: Private Collection
  • MAPS High School Seniors Students’ Art Exhibit
  • Pocket Watches: Robbie Johnson

2017

  • Breyer Model Horses: Esther Trostle
  • Wisconsin Remembers Traveling Exhibit
  • Origami Creations: Troy Hanson
  • Universal Creations: Xoché Heller
  • Mini Art Fair: Local Artists
  • MAPS High School Senior Students’ Art Exhibit
  • Portraits of Personalities: David L. Sladky
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