Twist Out Cancer’s Brushes with Cancer NE program matched those who have been touched by cancer (called “Inspirations”) with Artists to create a unique piece of artwork that reflects an individual’s personal journey with cancer. Over a 6-month period, these relationships were guided and supported by mentors, who are licensed clinicians or past Brushes with Cancer participants that have received training from our clinicians. The program culminated with a celebratory exhibition in Philadelphia and fundraiser, where the artwork is auctioned. All proceeds from the auction went directly back into the program’s pay-it-forward model.
I learned of Twist Out Cancer’s Brushes with Cancer program when I was searching for art exhibition opportunities outside of Los Angeles. I was honored to participate in their 2021 Brushes with Cancer Northeast program. Due to the pandemic, it was a virtual program that matched me with an Inspiration from Ohio, Bobbie Donohew, who I met with several times over Zoom. Our resulting artwork was exhibited at the Old City Jewish Arts Center in Philadelphia and sold in an online auction to a local physician. I was fortunate to be able to attend the opening art reception in person and there met several members of the Twist Out Cancer organization and community. I had such a wonderful, fulfilling experience and heard the same from my Inspiration and so many others that I look forward to continued participation in future programming.
I have been an exhibiting artist for decades, working exclusively with survivors of trauma and disease to depict their stories in a positive light through paintings and drawings abstracted from medical imagery. I have worked with wounded warriors, injured athletes, cancer patients and many other survivors of illness and injury. In each instance, I have learned that survivors need to tell their story and celebrate their recovery as an integral part of the healing process. Often, this storytelling is difficult to do with those closest to you who may also be suffering from the emotional effects of this trauma.
When I learned of Twist Out Cancer’s Brushes with Cancer program, I could not believe how well it matched what I had already been doing on my own locally. Participation in this organization allows me to connect not only with Inspirations from around the world and work with them to create beauty and healing through artwork, but also connect with the larger community of health professionals, families and others who are touched by cancer. As an Artist in the Brushes with Cancer NE program, I learned just how much their programming benefits cancer survivors and how much those survivors appreciate and thrive in the supportive community that Twist Out Cancer creates.
“She Overcame Everything Meant to Destroy Her” by Artist Kathryn Tubbs for Inspiration, Bobbie Donohew, along with Bobbie’s CT scan, which served as the art’s source image.
“Cast Not Set” by Artist Kathryn Tubbs for Inspiration, Bobbie Donohew, along with a photo of Bobbie’s surgical scar, which served as the artwork’s source image.