Woman doesn't let cancer derail her love for art

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Cancer patient uses art to escape. Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on December 13, 2017. (WPVI)

For one Philadelphia woman, life is giving her both lemons and lemonade. She's battling a rare cancer, but at the same time, her art career is hitting its stride.

Nina Hopen Klein has always painted from her heart.

These days, those emotions are a little stronger and closer to the surface.

Klein suffers from cholangiocarcinoma, an incurable cancer of the bile ducts in the liver.

It struck just after she began her lifelong dream of being a full-time artist.

Briefly, the diagnosis smothered her creativity.

"And then I kind of got on my path and decided this is what I need to do. This is my escape," Klein said.

Klein's works now fill the walls at the Griesing Law Firm in Center City, in a one-woman show that runs into February.

Since opening her Center City firm in 2010, founder Fran Griesing has had 14 in-office art shows.

"So we've probably had 20 different artists here. And every single artist is a Philadelphia artist," Griesing said.

Griesing believes art boosts employee morale and eases the stress clients often feel in dealing with legal matters.

She and Klein, who became friends in yoga class, talked about an exhibit before the diagnosis, but pushed up the timetable.

On opening night, Klein sold 19 paintings and got commissions for 11 more. Now she's eager to get back to the studio.

"It's a diversion, and it makes me feel great," Klein said.

And medical studies show cancer patients who are involved with art projects have less anxiety and less depression.

Klein's art is open to the public by appointment.

To view art show at Griesing Law, call 215-618-3720.

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