Art Gallery Stroll celebrates work of young artist dying due to cancer

Posted at 9:55 PM, Nov 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-14 23:55:58-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Baylee Parks is a young woman who is dying of cancer. She has come to terms with that, but recently she celebrated her art and the time she has left during her first gallery show.

Baylee’s art was on display at IIlume Gallery of Fine Art in downtown Salt Lake City during the Baylee Parks Art Gallery Stroll this week.

Jane Bell Meyer, the gallery owner, spoke about Baylee’s artistic endeavors.

"She was young and she realized she didn't have a lot of time,” Meyere said. “She had a wish in her life, and she put all in."

Baylee said the best part is, "that all these people came out to see my paintings."

Baylee has battled a brain tumor for seven years now, seeing it go away only to then suffer relapse after relapse.

She has lived longer than any of the experts thought she would, and her parents say art has a lot to do with that.

"Painting makes her so happy and just gives her, like I say, it's almost like a reason to live and to do and to look forward to things like this,” said Shellie Parks, Baylee’s mother.

Baylee loves capturing scenes of rural Utah.

"The landscapes, like the trees,” she said of her preference for subjects to paint.

Several of Baylee's paintings were sold the night of her showing.

Baylee has suffered through years of chemotherapy and other treatments and has recently stopped all medical efforts to get better.  She has talked to her family about her decision, and they're just trying to enjoy the time they have left with her.

"We're trying to get as many memories in as we can, and not only for us but for everyone, she kind of has a legacy now,” Shellie Parks said.

Artist Stephen Stauffer has taken Baylee under his wing and has taught her how to be an artist, but he said her talent comes from within.

"The light that comes from your smile and shines in your face every single day is the best of the show,” he said to Baylee and those gathered at the art show.

Baylee took home the best of show ribbon, and memories she and her family will treasure forever.