“Almost 7,” an exhibit of two- and three-dimensional artwork by Laila Streb, is on display at Edward G. Miner Library, University of Rochester Medical Center, through August.
We invited Laila (actually, we contacted Laila’s mom, as Laila was indeed “almost 7” at the time) to exhibit her remarkable work in Miner Library after an article by Justin Murphy appeared in the April 6 edition of Democrat and Chronicle. The article followed Laila and her mom on a shopping spree, courtesy of The Dream Factory, at the Pittsford Plaza Michaels (arts and crafts store) in the spring.
The article also talked about Laila having lived most of her life coping with a difficult illness that most of us have never heard of…focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Laila probably knows her way around the hospital better than many employees. Dr. Ayesa Mian, Head of Pediatric Dialysis, is considered “one of the family.”
In case you’re wondering, it is a bit unusual for an almost-7-year-old artist to be invited to do an exhibit. But then again, Laila is not your usual artist. Her work is not only imaginative and colorful, but also inspiring and bold. Laila’s multi-level toothpick structures and purses are executed with a level of patience unknown to many of my colleagues. Recently, when a neighbor asked Laila when she would be going on vacation, Laila responded, “As soon as I’m done painting my suitcase.” In Laila’s eyes, no object is exempt from beautification through art…whether that object is a suitcase or the family cat, Gilbert.
Laila’s probably more technology savvy than many of us, too. She keeps up with her school lessons through regular Skype conferences with her teacher at Council Rock Elementary School.
“I’m just always blown away with what she can do,” said her mother, Athesia Benjamin-Streb, herself an art professor at Monroe Community College. We are too!
Miner Library (585.275.3361) is open Monday-Friday, 7:30 am – 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 am – 8 pm; Sunday, noon – 8 p.m.