Meet Judy and Nir- An Unexpected Friendship

Nir and Judy might never have crossed paths had they not been paired through Brushes with Cancer, and yet as soon as the connection was made, a journey of friendship and openness began. Nir, an extraordinary young Israeli dancer, happened to cross paths with Alona, the chair of Brushes with Cancer in Tel Aviv, and was immediately convinced that this was the platform for sharing her story.

Judy, a talented artist, heard about the program through conversation with her daughter, who has worked with Twist out Cancer in the past. And so, two separate paths converged and the bond of Artist and Inspiration was formed. Judy and Nir both agreed to offer a small taste of their journey prior to the unveiling of the final art piece at Brushes With Cancer in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, March 13.  We are so grateful to be able to share this amazing story of their experiences with Brushes With Cancer.

How did you feel compelled to participate in the program? What motivated you to be part of this journey?

Nir

“Being a dance and a performance artist and having my body and soul go through so much in the past four years, as a result of being diagnosed and treated for cancer three times, I felt so inspired to enter this process and this story as a material for an art piece. For me, dealing with breast cancer and all the body-mind-spirit alterations that goes along with, made me feel as if my very being, my body, my mind, my identity and personality are all some kind of material that keeps changing, being designed, played with, altered, danced with by outside and inside forces. It made me feel like myself and my life are fluid and flexible as if it was some kind of material or art piece that is in an unending creation process that is comprised of the ongoing interaction and synthesis between constantly changing me and constantly changing and unexpected circumstances. For these reasons I had a growing need to bring forth the intensity of this experience and the different views on life, on myself and my relationship with the world that resulted from this, and try to communicate to other people, to another artist and to myself- through art.”

Judy

“I felt compelled to participate in the program as I feel its goals are so important. I have done art programs with cancer patients in the past, and have a number of friends who have had cancer. The goal of building a personal connection with someone was appealing to me.”

What has the storytelling process been like for you so far? What has been your creative process been like?

Nir

“It’s been more like a mutual sharing process. We share our stories, we get to know each other. It’s become very quickly much more about the human connection and bond between us than anything else. But still, telling the story keeps revealing it to me in new ways, it’s like re-learning it, understanding and seeing it in even more new ways and in new light.”

Judy

“Initially the connecting process was quite difficult as Nir was still going through treatment. However after our first meeting I knew that I had met a truly unique and inspiring person who I wanted to get to know. My creative process is difficult to describe. I am constantly thinking about this project and wondering how to translate all of this into a meaningful piece of art. My making sketches, painting fabric and trying out different ideas. My medium is textiles, which is a bit more challenging. I also  prefer abstract rather than realistic art, which makes the artwork more difficult for a viewer to understand.”

What were you most nervous about regarding the process?

Nir

“I was nervous about what would happen if we didn’t click, or that maybe my experiences and views will be too much to take in, or that there will be some taboos, or that we will have an extremely different artistic taste. Also about letting go of my story (or the story of our meeting) to become a piece of art in someone else’s hands that I have no direct influence on.”

Judy

“I was most nervous about my ability to do justice to this amazing woman and her story.”

What are you most looking forward to?

Nir

“Of course to see the final artwork! But also to be a part of the first event in Israel. To be in the company of all the wonderful people that shared their time, stories, and their art in order to make this project happen. I look forward to sharing the artwork and the experience with my family and friends and whoever else will come to see or hear about the project.  Also to continue to be in touch with Judy outside the boundaries of the project and to continue to share experiences together.”

Judy

“I am looking forward to my continuing relationship with Nir. I feel that we have a lot to learn from each other, and we just have a good time being together.”

Is there anything else you would like to share/pass on?

Nir

“I would like to share that I think Brushes with Cancer is an extremely important project  because it takes the story of dealing with cancer – all its pain, fear, confusion, beauty, complexity, and life changing experiences – and makes it into soil, into fertile ground, into the  very seeds of a new creation in the world. I think that there is no better and healing way to experience ourselves and the meaning of our experiences than by sharing them.”

Judy

“However the final art piece turns out, I feel honored to be part of this unique process. It is a project I would like to continue participating in.”  This connection, and the others made through Brushes With Cancer, is what this project is all about. The ability to form unexpected connections, unbreakable bonds, and unparalleled platforms to share powerful experiences.

For more information on Brushes with Cancer Tel Aviv please check out our website. The first annual art exhibition and gala will take place on Tuesday, March 13th at Beit Andromeda in Jaffa, Israel.

This interview was written by Jacquie Zaluda, freelance writer and Brushes with Cancer Tel Aviv Host Committee Member. Check out Jacquie’s website to read more about her and her work.  

Meet Jacqueline Carmody, Brushes with Cancer Artist & Twist Out Cancer Board Member

About Jacqueline Carmody

Jacqueline Carmody is an Art Therapist based at the  Art Therapy Studio Chicago, LTD in Wicker Park. She also works as a freelance artist with the Fulton Street Collective and is currently working from home studio in Roscoe Village.Jacqueline uses art as a platform for communication and self-expression. She was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago and attended Western Michigan University for undergrad. She began studying painting in the Gwen Frostic School of Fine Arts, but quickly realized that the competitive art environment did not feel natural.  Jacqueline knew there was another path to share her artistic skills and sought out an art therapist as a mentor. Jacqueline graduated undergrad with a bachelors in Psychology and BFA in painting. She went directly into graduate school at Adler University to obtain her Master’s in Counseling and Art Therapy.

Jacqueline is currently a registered art therapist and licensed clinical professional counselor. She is working in private practice in the Chicago area where she provides expressive therapy services to individuals, families, and groups. Jacqueline provides a safe space to unleash your creative potential and encourages art making as an effective way to discover solutions to life’s struggles.

Outside of her clinical work, Jacqueline continues to use art making as a form of self-care. She is a member of the Fulton Street Collective, and is creating original oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings from her home studio in Roscoe Village. Jacqueline engages with her work in a relaxed and curious way. Her work reflects her values of being present in the current moment and explores mindfulness based techniques.

Her Involvement with Twist Out Cancer

Jackie first became involved with Twist Out Cancer in 2013. Fresh out of graduate school, she had just moved into the city and was beginning her career as a therapist.  While browsing the internet for different art therapy opportunities and different areas to share her artistic skills, she stumbled upon Twist Out Cancer in a blog post!  She was intrigued by the combination of using art as a form of healing, communicating, and storytelling. Jackie, along with many others, have lost family members and friends to Cancer, and felt a special connection to Twist. She followed her intuition and reached out to the Founder, Jenna Benn Shersher. Jenna was so welcoming and excited to have her jump on board as an artist in the Spring event. She has since participated as in artist in 3 events, and 2017 will be her 4th.

The highlight of being involved with Twist Out Cancer has definitely been the personal connections. She describes having have formed unique relationships with people that she would never have met otherwise. As an artist, she is honored to be paired with such brave and amazing individuals each year. She is excited to meet other members in the community and see all of the beautiful creations at the event on Saturday, September 9th.

Jackie recently held a night of art therapy with current Brushes with Cancer participants at Therapy Studio Chicago in Wicker Park. Be sure to check out her blog on the experience and her artwork on her website.

You can also learn more about Jackie’s involvement with Brushes with Cancer through the Brushes with Cancer impact video.

Meet Rika Cargill, 36 – “The Fighter”

            Rika was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in August 2012. Unfortunately, Rika wasn’t a stranger to this horrible disease. She lost both her mother and grandmother to breast cancer and her father to prostate cancer. Rika decided to fight because she didn’t have an option to give up for three very special reasons.

“Motherhood made it worth the fight,” says Rika.

She is a mother of three and not only on a mission for them, but for those who can no longer contend. Rika connected to Brushes With Cancer through artist, Jessica Bond Montalbano, and her work at previous events. Her “twist” on cancer is to be present and enjoy time with your family and friends. Losing her loved ones didn’t generate a resentful outlook; rather it made Rika even more grateful. Cancer shaped the trajectory of her life in positive ways she never deemed possible.

Her cancer journey fostered a more patient, concerned, and loving mother. She relishes every single moment with her children. Having this disease, also called for open lines of communication with her children. It’s created a platform for dialogue and those tough conversations, which need to take place. She’s learned to embrace change and encourage her family to as well.

If there is one takeaway we can all learn from Rika, it’s through her message.

            “It’s good to live in the moment than not to live at all.”

-Rika Cargill

Mother, Fighter, Survivor, Inspiration

*Blog entry submitted by Courtney Anixter

 

Meet Nichole Olson, 31-”Close Watch”

In May of 2013, Nichole found a lump in her breast during a routine shower exam. She immediately called her doctor and had it biopsied that day. She learned her fate and headed straight into a mastectomy with reconstruction followed by six months of chemo. Then in August of 2015, she had a full hysterectomy for BRCA2 gene and, sadly, in October 2016 discovered a new lump in almost the same spot as the original. Nichole had surgery again to remove and test the lump. After twenty-eight radiation treatments, she is still watching closely today.

Given the extent of her ordeal Nichole suffered from PTSD, which led her friend Heather to suggest becoming involved in our organization. Nichole thought the process of joining the Brushes With Cancer community would not only help her heal, but also provide comfort to other young women in her shoes.

Nichole’s son was only one and a half when she was first diagnosed. She worried her capabilities and limitations due to her illness would fail her as a mother. She relied on others guidance and support in raising her child. She credits her family for taking care of her son when she needed to take care of herself. Nichole treasures every major milestone with her son, especially seeing him sign up for kindergarten.

Final words from Nichole as we remember and learn from her story.

“Everybody is entitled to feel how they want to feel! If you want to feel overly optimistic and happy all of the time then do it! If you want to sit in a corner and cry the whole afternoon then do it! But the one thing you can do to help yourself is live.”

-Nichole Olson

Mother, Survivor, Inspiration

*Blog entry submitted by Courtney Anixter

A Collaboration All Their Own

Lauren Smoke felt a lump in her breast six weeks after she became pregnant with her first child.  Eight weeks into the pregnancy she received a call – the lump was malignant. Lauren, a healthy yoga and music teacher for children, vividly recalls the moment that she realized she had breast cancer. She feared the worst. Losing her baby.

Pregnancy is a period of physical and emotional challenges. For Lauren, pregnancy included surgery and chemotherapy. Lauren received support from a community of women who received breast cancer treatment while pregnant.

Lauren had a son, Nico. He was born at 35 weeks healthy.

After one year and a half of remission, October 2016, Lauren was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer that has spread to the Mediastinal lymph nodes.
Dr. David Turok has been an artist for Brushes with Cancer, a program of Twist Out Cancer that provides psycho-social support to those touched by Cancer to improve the quality of life for Cancer patients, their family and loved ones, through a unique art experience. He more recently joined the board this past July because of his strong belief in Twist Out Cancer’s mission and programs.

Dr. David Turok is dentist and an artist based in Chicago. A few years ago, David was inspired by a piece of art that his niece painted. He decided to use the work as the canvas and backdrop for a meaningful art experience that would involve the whole family. The experiment became the foundation for his highly successful venture called KidCollab, which provides a unique and impactful experience for parents and family members, where the children’s art serves as the canvas for David’s painting. His instincts have proven to be accurate, as he has received numerous requests for artwork is booked out months in advance.

David believes that Brushes has been one of the most rewarding and engaging experiences of his life.

Lauren and David both participated in Brushes with Cancer last year, and connected at an event where David advertised KidCollab. Lauren contacted him to commission a piece after her first battle with cancer; they reconnected after her second diagnosis.

Finishing Lauren’s painting is a priority. Recently, Nico painted the background, moving around the canvas creatively and freely. David and Lauren have a developed a connection throughout the process. He recalls Lauren, “sang the most beautiful version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star you have ever heard.” The painting will be an image of Lauren when she was pregnant with an elephant that has particular meaning to her and her family.

One of David’s favorite projects was created for Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder and Executive Director of Twist Out Cancer as a surprise. Jenna was diagnosed with Grey Zone Lymphoma at the age of 29. Therefore, there was an uncertainty regarding her ability to conceive a child. Her daughter is for all intensive purposes a miracle- and a blessing. For the piece, Jenna’s daughter, Noa Pearl, painted the canvas. The painting has an image of Jenna hula hooping, and  holding Noa, which represents the miracle of her birth.

According to Jenna, the piece serves as a constant reminder of how art can not only tell a story but serve as a tremendous catalyst for healing. David’s work hangs proudly in Noa’s room and is a constant reminder of the power of hope.

The connection that David and Lauren made after the Brushes with Cancer event showcases the power of the program and the importance of building community. Brushes with Cancer is not only about providing participants with a unique art experience, it is about building a supportive community that is there for them throughout their journey. Lauren, now facing her second bout with Cancer, has a community behind her that is ready to support her through every step.

To learn more about Brushes with Cancer and supporting our program please check our website for updated program details.

 

Meet Brushes with Cancer Artist Alumni – Doug Jones


MEET Doug Jones, a professional artist with a background in non-profit work. He is a veteran Brushes with Cancer participant who has been involved since its inception. Doug says he met Jenna (the founder) through a mutual college friend and “she was so lovely to be around that we connected immediately”. Specializing in Wonder Woman art, Doug’s first Brushes piece was for Noreen who had received a Wonder Woman figurine in the mail the day before she was diagnosed. Since then, Doug became a strong believer in the benefits of the program and he has not only participated in all of the Brushes events, but he also assisted with planning the first Michigan Brushes event, and is hoping to get a Detroit event on the calendar soon.

“My background is in psychology.” Jones says. “Mainly trauma and resilience-oriented therapy. I have used art therapy a lot and I have seen the benefits of art in therapeutic efforts.” The biggest benefit of the program, in his eyes, is that “people can see they are not alone.” An important aspect of healing therapy after any trauma is to find individuals who have had similar experiences. “This is a great reminder that people live through and with this all the time. A diagnosis is not a death sentence,” he emphasizes. “I think those are the two biggest benefits [of the Brushes program]: the sense of belonging and understanding that this is not a death sentence.”

Doug goes on to say that “

“My involvement with Twist has been such a journey. I wasn’t sure if Jenna was going to survive that first year, and it was such an emotional experience. I have a unique sense of joy just watching [Twist Out Cancer] grow. From participating, to being on the host committee, it has been just such an incredible journey.” Doug speaks fondly about the organization as if he is a proud father, watching his baby grow and expand and do good in the world.

To someone who is considering participating, Jones offers his own takeaway from being part of the Brushes with Cancer family: “I have seen insights – each of my people have shared things with me that they feel they can’t share with anyone. There is something about the idea that I am a stranger, and because of the purpose of the project they feel they have been able to share things with me. Those true insights into their personal experiences are the things I cherish the most. I would not have known these people, many of whom have become friends, without this program.”

 

 

Meet Brad Young, Brushes with Cancer Featured Artist

 


MEET Brad Young, father, artist, and carpenter. His background in art is varied and spans multiple expressions including pastel, music, drawing, painting, and sculpting. “I consider myself more of an artistic soul than a master of a certain art form.” Brad says. “I have found interest in all mediums and I appreciate all forms of art. I was in a band when I was young, and I took some art classes, but I am mostly self-taught, I guess.” he explains. Brad has done two Brushes with Cancer events; one in Chicago and one in Ann Arbor.

“I was introduced to the program by Bowen Kline, who is one of my closest friends.” After attending the launch party in November of 2014 for the Chicago 2015 event, Brad found Brushes to be “inspiring”, and a great use of art. “Art is often used to express only the artist’s point of view on things, and in that way, art can be very selfish. I liked the idea that this program was focused on beautiful things: survivors and strength and resilience and that it requires the artist to be selfless and tell someone else’s story.”

Young says the biggest benefit of the program is the opportunity for people to come together in a beautiful way and find strength, hope, and love in one another through something that is very difficult. “Strength because you see the amount of people that have been affected, and there is comfort and community in that. Hope and love because we pour ourselves out to each other and support each other.” he emphasizes. Both times Brad participated, he used his woodworking skills to create very unique pieces for the art exhibition. Though he is not creating a piece for the upcoming Chicago gala in May, his piece “Healing Harp” from the Ann Arbor installment will be featured and auctioned off there.

“The biggest lesson I learned from all of this is that the Universe makes sure that we are in the right place at the right time. That sometimes things don’t make sense in the moment, but there’s a reason for everything that happens, even when it’s hard or sad. These are the things that shape our character into who we need to be.” He then speaks about his first subject and survivor, August Spree, who became very dear to him throughout the process of being paired in the Brushes program, “I just think about the big picture: if August had never been affected by cancer, we would never have met. If I had decided not to check out this program with Bowen, we would never have met. The amount of things that I have learned about myself and about life and love is priceless, all because I participated in [the] Brushes [program].” He goes on to say, “It might seem like a small thing, like it did to me at the very beginning, but it has already had a big affect on my life. I think that’s a big deal.”

Brad says to anyone who is looking into the Brushes program, “It’s a great opportunity to participate in something bigger than yourself. It can potentially help you and help someone else greatly – this program has a positive impact on a lot of people. To an artist, I would say it is one of the most beautiful ways to gift somebody with one of your talents.”

PRESS RELEASE: TWIST OUT CANCER LAUNCHES FOURTH ANNUAL BRUSHES WITH CANCER EVENT, CONNECTING THOSE TOUCHED BY CANCER WITH ARTISTS TO CREATE FOR A CAUSE ON MAY 13, 2016

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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ASSIGNMENT EDITORS, COMMUNITY    CALENDARS

Contact: Jenna Benn Shersher , Founder and Executive Director of Twist Out Cancer

 jenna@twistoutcancer.org

 TWIST OUT CANCER LAUNCHES FOURTH ANNUAL BRUSHES WITH CANCER EVENT, CONNECTING THOSE TOUCHED BY CANCER WITH ARTISTS TO CREATE FOR A CAUSE ON MAY 13, 2016

February 15, 2016, Chicago, Illinois….On Friday, May 13th, 2016, Twist Out Cancer will host the Fourth Annual Brushes with Cancer Exhibition and Gala at Revel Fulton Market, located at 1215 W. Fulton Market.  Twist Out Cancer is a non-profit charitable organization that offers a platform for survivors, pre-vivers and caregivers of cancer to connect, support each other and heal. The signature event, Brushes with Cancer is a four month program that matches those touched by cancer with artists to create a unique piece of artwork reflected of their journey with cancer.  The artwork will be exhibited and put up for auction at the event with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Twist Out Cancer’s mission.

This year the gala will feature speakers Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder of Twist Out Cancer and Jonny Imerman, Founder of Imerman Angels. Music will be provided by grammy nominated composer, producer and pianist Sam Barsh, jazz vocalist Jesse Palter, and electric violinist Dr. Draw. DJ John Simmons will be spinning throughout the night.

Starting at 6:00 pm, VIP guests will attend a private reception with the program’s participating artists and subjects. Dinner will be provided by Limelight Catering and Entertaining Company.

Due to the success of Brushes with Cancer over the last four years, the program was able to successfully launch in Ann Arbor and Toronto.  If you are interested in participating in the program in one of our sister cities please contact Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder of Twist Out Cancer.

Established in 2011 as a non-profit organization, Twist Out Cancer (TOC) offers the platform, tools and community – both online and offline – for anyone touched by cancer to feel connected to a community, and for many to take action. Since its inception, TOC has touched over 63,000 through its programs and events. A labor of love, TOC is completely volunteer-led, boasting a network of over 200 active volunteers serving as ambassadors in Chicago, Detroit, Tel Aviv, Toronto and Montreal.

What: Brushes with Cancer

Date: Friday, May 13, 2016.

Time:  6:00 -12:00 PM

Location:Revel Fulton Market, 1215 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, Illinois.

Tickets:  Tickets are $150 for VIP and $100 for General Admission.  Tickets will be available for purchase online until May 12th at 5:00 pm.

Tickets include open bar, dinner, and the program. To purchase tickets online visit our website.

To learn more about supporting the program, exhibition and gala  please take a look at our sponsorship packages.

For media inquiries please contact Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder and Executive Director  of Twist Out Cancer.

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Meet Jenifer Miya: Brushes with Cancer Featured Artist and Cancer Survivor

MEET Jenifer Miya: artist, survivor, teacher, esthetician, mother, and grandmother. Radiance, strength, and beauty oozes from her every pore. Jenifer grew up in Japan, exposed to art, but never considered it an integral part of her life until more recently. She is a unique artist in this year’s Brushes with Cancer Chicago program because last year she participated as a subject. Her battle with cancer is still affecting her life, but she has found comfort and hope in the Brushes program. “I was introduced to Brushes with Cancer through Bowen Kline. We had become friends on Facebook because of his art, and it was around the time of my diagnosis so he recommended the program because he thought I would benefit from it.” Jenifer explains. She goes on to say that participating in the Brushes program the first time gave her a chance to see “cancer from a completely different perspective. I was used to seeing cancer as an ‘illness’ or a ‘disease’ but this…this takes the word beyond that. That word was just following me around: cancer cancer CANCER. But then, I walked into that room [February 2015 at the Brushes with Cancer gala] and saw all the art and paintings and it was like a different world. Instead of seeing cancer when I walked into that room, I saw people…and journeys. It wasn’t some hospital or sterile doctor’s office, it was LIFE. People who had lived it. Normal functioning people with all different stories that have been transformed into art. It was warm and refreshing. At Brushes, I saw the art that can come from pain and journeys and survival. And that changed my perspective.”

Jenifer says that experience was very healing for her and after that, upon encouragement from another subject/survivor, she decided to participate in the next program as an artist. Her call to back to art was born from grief, as she walked through her brother’s room with a glass of wine in hand. It was 2001, and he had recently passed away, and Jenifer found herself browsing through some of his art supplies. She picked up a brush and began to paint, and has been doing it ever since. She finds that painting helps her cope in her most difficult times, and being able to use her art to bring some hope and healing to someone else is her motivation for participating as an artist in the 2016 Chicago Brushes program. “It is such a different experience this time, being matched with someone as an artist because last year I was her – I was the subject. Listening to [my subject] talk about her experience made me realize that I am not alone. I am not the only one who feels this way. It was eye-opening. If I can bring to someone else an ounce of what I felt when I first saw all of the art, I would feel like I did something good.” As Jenifer finds another layer of healing in the Brushes with Cancer program, she recommends it to other people. “I think they are very good at pairing people up. I am very happy with both of my matches as a survivor, and also as an artist. It is very fulfilling,” Miya adds. “Being part of such an uplifting experience is incredible.”

 

Brushes with Cancer Chicago 2016 Spotlight: Bowen Kline, Artist and Twist Out Cancer Ambassador

Photo Credit JeffSusan Cancelosi

MEET Bowen Kline, an artist and husband who lives in Romeo, Michigan, and has been involved with Brushes with Cancer for 3 years. Bowen describes himself as a “self-taught, fine painter” who has been doing gallery work for over 15 years. Bowen attributes his artistic influences to his environment growing up on the border of Southfield and Detroit, and his constant exposure to a diverse group of people. “I grew up in the arts,” he explains. “My exposure came from my parents and my upbringing. My dad always encouraged us to be creative and he supported us in that. He’s also my biggest critic too, always pushing me to do better, which is good. I have been surrounded by art and culture my whole life.”

This will be Bowen’s fourth time creating art for a Brushes with Cancer event. He was first approached by Jenna to participate in an event with the Chicago branch of the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), and soon after he was invited to participate in Brushes with Cancer Chicago as well. “Working with Jenna on the ADL artworks project sparked a conversation with them about doing Brushes with Cancer. As an artist, one of the things that I enjoy so much about the Brushes program is that it is such a wonderful opportunity to see someone on an emotional level, to be able to connect with them in a different way. As a figurative painter, that is very important to me in my art.” says Bowen of his involvement with the program. Bowen says that he paints something every day, but being an integral participant in the Brushes program holds a special place in his heart, and not just due to the good cause behind it. “The biggest benefit is the overall connection with the individual that I am matched with,” says Kline. “It makes me feel like my art has a purpose, a different type of purpose than I normally may focus on. Art is a very selfish thing, usually, you know. It is always about the artist’s viewpoint on anything, and this program forces me to create art that is about the subject and their viewpoint and what they have experienced. It’s all about the survivor, not me. My art then becomes more of an act of giving. It takes me outside of myself. Everyone seeks a purpose, I think, especially artists in their work. That is why this is such an important event to be involved with as an artist and I would encourage any artist to be a part of this.”

Brushes with Cancer has been pairing artists with those touched by cancer for three years now in three cities with plans to expand even more. Each participant has a unique experience and many have built long-term friendships from the pairing. But the most important result of the program is the experience from the connection that occurs. As the subject tells their story, and the artist reflects it, both are able to have a positive growing experience. Bowen adds, “What I would tell people is that it is an outstanding opportunity to further your creative side as an artist and push yourself in a way where you can really learn something different. Brushes has taught me to actually love every moment of your life. Listening to the stories of how people have beat cancer or are living with it… [he pauses]… it is incredibly inspiring. Being a part of this community has really helped me come out of my shell and shown me that there are some good things in the world. Some really amazing things in this world.”