NewsLocal News


Kansas artist paints picture of hope, resiliency after overcoming decades of setbacks

gil rumsey.PNG
Posted at 10:56 PM, Dec 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-03 23:56:21-05

LENEXA, Kan. — Gil Rumsey discovered he could draw when he was 8 years old.

But since finding his passion for art, Rumsey has encountered many life challenges.

The first came when he broke his leg and was out of school for nearly a year.

“It's always been a relaxing hobby type thing for me," he said.

For decades, Rumsey has worked to hone his craft, crediting time and knowledge as the recipe for mastering the art of resiliency.   

“It means to come back quick, fast and from a disastrous situation,” Rumsey said.

Twenty-eight years ago, Rumsey was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He says art has been therapeutic in navigating his diagnosis journey.

About 13 years later, Rumsey was dealt another setback. A fire destroyed his space in Overland Park that housed all of his work.

“It wiped us out completely,” he said. "I lost all my artwork, all my antiques — a complete business.” 

Envisioning the situation as starting from a blank canvas, Rumsey redrew his life. But in 2013, he was diagnosed with a disease that nearly took his life.

“Guillain-Barré is an unknown syndrome. I was paralyzed from the neck down for about seven weeks,” Rumsey said.

He spent 91 days in the hospital, making the most of his time creating art while re-learning how to walk and eat.

Nevertheless, his resiliency carried him through the situation until his next setback. Earlier in the year, a septic tank issue caused his home gallery in Lenexa to flood.

This time, not all of the art was destroyed. Rumsey and his wife Linda were able to salvage what was left.

Despite each setback, Rumsey says he found a way to pull himself up by the bootstraps.

“The resiliency part comes in when you don’t give up," he said.