"Healing Through Art" Fundraiser Gives Patients and Caregivers the Stage

Moving Beyond Cancer Collaborative gives cancer survivors a frame to share their stories

Works from Patricia Belodoff (Courtesy of the artist)

On Saturday, November 13, on the rooftop garden at the Central Library, the resiliency of the human spirit will be on display. The "Healing Through Art" gallery and fundraiser for the Moving Beyond Cancer Collaborative nonprofit will show the work of cancer survivors who used art therapy as part of their healing process. The exhibit will consist of both visual art and dance performance, giving the artists a chance to share their experiences in the different stages and phases of their cancer journeys.

Mari Galle, co-founder and director of the MBCC and director of integrative medicine at the Cancer Rehab and Integrative Medicine clinic, had the idea for the gallery after hosting a seminar instructed by an art therapist. The engagement and popularity of that class helped Galle to realize how many of those in the collaborative's community had benefited from the self-expressive nature of art therapy. Many of the artists that will be featured in the exhibit do not consider themselves to be classically trained or professional creatives but used their artwork as a means of synthesizing their experiences. "If you can create something," said Galle, "you're still able to express whatever you're feeling without putting it into words."

The field of art therapy is relatively emergent and growing within clinical settings. Although there is limited scientific data concerning its effects on cancer patients, studies suggest that the use of art therapy can improve their quality of life and emotional state. Anecdotally, Galle pointed to several cancer survivors who attribute their sustained mental health to the practice of artistic expression, and some of whom will tell their stories at the exhibit.

The MBCC focuses largely on the use of integrative oncology services, such as art therapy, and educational, physical, and wellness seminars to all those affected by cancer. That includes not only patients and survivors, but their caregivers as well, in order to help heal not only from the immediate trauma of the disease, but also its lasting physical and mental effects. Their goal in 2022 is to offer services such as acupuncture and massage to patients regardless of their financial status. They are planning to make this fundraiser an annual one to help develop more programs to offer to their community.

"Healing Through Art": Exhibit and Fundraiser

Austin Central Public Library rooftop garden, 170 W. Cesar Chavez
November 13, 7pm
Tickets $55, available via Eventbrite.
Funds go to the Moving Beyond Cancer Collaborative. Make a donation at mbccollaborative.org/fundraisers

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