Art meets oncology

Materials I recently spotted at Scottsdale Healthcare’s cancer center

Recently I discovered a thick book of beautiful artwork in the lobby for the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare. Our son was treated there last spring, but I was near the center for something unrelated — and decided to stop in to check out any new art that might have been installed since my last visit.

Even in tough times, I find ways to explore the arts around me. They keep me grounded, remind me of what’s truly important and inspire me to move past despair when traveling the roughest roads. Plenty of people find solice in the arts — including those who’ve created tiles for the cancer center’s “Wall of Valor,” which honors people who’ve survived cancer or been lost to cancer.

And those who created the artwork featured in the book “Lilly Oncology On Canvas: Expressions of a Cancer Journey” — which includes selections from a 2010 art competition and exhibition presented by Lilly Oncology and the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship.

Their bienniel competition, started in 2004, “invites individuals diagnosed with any type of cancer — as well as their families, friends, caregivers and healthcare providers — to express, through art and narrative, the life-affirming changes that give their cancer journeys meaning.”

It’s competition time once again, and the call has gone out for works of art by folks ages 18 or older who live in the U.S., Puerto Rico or Canada. Seems you “don’t have to be a professional artist or writer” because “it’s the sharing of the story that counts.”

“Wild Water,” which won first place in the 2010 LOOC competition. Photo courtesy of LOOC.

Call for entry packets are available online. Competition director Anita Chernewski notes that folks have until June 29 to register for the competition, and to submit artwork for consideration (despite an earlier registration date still listed online).

A mixed media work by a person in Arizona diagnosed with cancer earned three awards in 2010: Best of Exhibition-1st Prize Winner, Best Entry by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer and Best Mixed Media by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer.

It’s called “Wild Water” and is the first piece readers see in the 2010 book, which doesn’t list artist names. Second prize went to “Breathing Room” by a person diagnosed with cancer who lives in Michigan, and third prize went to “No Words” by a person diagnosed with cancer who lives in New Jersey.

During the 2010 competition, awards were presented in categories for oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, photography and mixed media. Within each category three winners were selected — one a person diagnosed with cancer, one a healthcare professional and one a family member, friend or caregiver.

A black and white photo called “My Grandma Was a Tough Lady,” featuring a beaming grandmother holding a beautiful baby, was created by a family member in Arizona, and honored as a winner in the photography category.

Submissions should measure between 9 x 12 and 18 x 24 inches, be flat and conform to guidelines noted on the Lilly Oncology on Canvas website. All artwork needs to be accompanied by a narrative in English that’s 125 words or less. Guidelines for those babies are available online as well.

Select artworks will be part of a traveling exhibition, and prizes consist of contributions to cancer-related causes selected by winners. You’ve still got plenty of time to create and submit an original work. Just be sure you read the fine print first lest you learn after the fact of rules prohibiting signing your work and such.

Click here to enjoy a bit of inspiration from 2006, 2008 and 2010 winners online. And spend some time admiring tiles along the “Wall of Valor” next time you’re near Scottsdale Healthcare. It’s grand art on a small scale.

— Lynn

Note: You can enjoy an exhibit of artwork by patients at the Muhammed Ali Parkinsons Center through June 2 at the Burton Barr Central Library (second floor/north end) in Phoenix.

Coming up: Words and images from the “Wall of Valor”

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