Art program brings community, fun to cancer survivors
On the second Monday of every month, a group of women gather in a classroom in the basement of CHI Health Saint Elizabeth to create ceramic tiles, paint watercolor cards, embroider monograms and participate in other art activities.
Some of these women have been making art their whole lives and some have only gotten into it recently, but what brings them all together is that they’ve all survived bouts with cancer.
The Expressions of Art and Hope program is the result of a partnership between Saint Elizabeth and LUX Center for the Arts. LUX sends an instructor to teach a different art project each month.
This month, the project was linoleum block printing, where participants carved a design into a block of linoleum, covered the block with paint and pressed the image onto a sheet of paper.
One participant, Phyllis Anderson, said this wasn’t a support group where they came to talk about cancer.
“We’re here to do art,” she said.
But community is an important part of Expressions of Art and Hope. Donna West said new people come to almost every class, but many of the artists come back each month to see what the new project will be and to spend time with other survivors.
While the artists worked, the room was full of talk and laughter.
Daralee Beltz said some of the participants go to Don and Millie’s for margaritas after each class, underscoring the value of community and friendship within this group.
“You gotta be good at something,” she said, “and we’re good at having fun.”