Many artist statements in the exhibition, “A Visualization of Hope,” include messages that share personal stories while expressing appreciation for fleeting moments of time. The thirty artists represented in the juried exhibition rely on different media to process complex emotions. All of the artists have stories to tell about battling cancer.
The non-profit organization, Living Proof Exhibit (LPE), organizes this annual juried show and has partnered with the Muscatine Art Center (MAC) since 2017. The MAC will host the complete exhibition for the first time this year. “A Visualization of Hope” opens on September 5th with a free public reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and runs through November 3rd.
In her statement, Connie Gross, one of this year’s artists, discusses her 2015 breast cancer diagnosis and how cancer led her to greater appreciation of fleeting moments that play out in her art. She wrote, “I look more intently, see colors and shapes more clearly, and put more of my heart and soul in the paint and canvas. I could give you paragraphs on my color theory and painting techniques, but I think it is more important that you know I have preserved a beautiful moment in time.”
In presenting this exhibition and through offering free classes, both LPE and the MAC want to send the message that the arts can make up part of the healing process. As creating art in any form constitutes a process of sharing emotions, people managing a wide range of difficulties, including cancer, can benefit from a creative outlet. Patients coping with cancer can experience a wide range of emotions, which they may find difficult to communicate. Making art can offer one way to express feelings and can result in reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.
LPE and the MAC have committed to developing a safe place where cancer patients, survivors, support team members, and caregivers can connect with others in similar situations. The two have offered eight Creative Sessions in recent years and two more are scheduled for fall of 2019. They include the following programs:
September 12th: Mandala Stones with Terre Klipsch
On Thursday, September 12th, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, guest instructor Terre Klipsch will lead this Mandala stone session. A Mandala, from the Sanskrit for “circle,” represents a spiritual and ritual symbol for the universe. Circle designs used in Mandalas also reinforce the idea that life never ends, and all things connect to each other. Join Klipsch to learn more about Mandalas and create your own. Kelly Hendershot from Gilda’s Club Quad Cities will also lead the group in meaningful meditation.
October 10th: Thankful Trees with Gina Kirschbaum
On Thursday, October 10th, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, guest instructor Gina Kirschbaum will guide participants through all of the steps of creating a beautiful mixed media tree. The process involves painting, ripping and cutting paper, and gluing together the composition. Writing words on paper leaves to express reasons for gratitude provides the final touch.
Cancer survivors, patients, and families touched by cancer may attend both programs for free in the MAC’s Studio at 1314 Mulberry Avenue, Muscatine, Iowa. Visit www.muscatineartcenter.org for more information about programs and events and to download a class brochure.