Visionary Artists Group and Dare Arts announce July gallery exhibit of art by cancer survivors, caregivers – OBX Today

(Courtesy Dare Arts)

Visionary Artists Group, an organization of local artists who are cancer survivors and/or caregivers, is partnering with Dare Arts to exhibit art by regional artists whose lives have been impacted by cancer. Visionary Artists Group and Dare Arts invite all cancer survivors and caregivers to submit original works of visual art, music, dance, and poetry/narrative that explore aspects of their cancer journeys.

Dare Arts will host submitted works in an exhibit and performance titled “Living Proof: Artistic Visions of Hope & Healing” in the Courtroom Gallery with the opening scheduled for the “First Friday” celebration on July 5, 2024. The submission deadline is June 28, and a schedule for submission drop-offs will be announced in May.

The goal of Visionary Artists Group is to give all those whose lives have been impacted by cancer an opportunity to share their experiences through creative expression. 

“Simply stated, we believe art heals,” says Kathy Cawthon, Visionary Artists Group member and 28-year cancer survivor. “When we are creating something – a painting, a poem, a song, whatever form our art takes – we are often better able to express difficult emotions like the fear and sadness that accompany diagnosis or the loss of a loved one as well as the relief and joy that come with a last treatment or good test results.  Releasing those emotions by bringing something new and beautiful into the world can be profoundly healing at an emotional level.”

The title of the exhibit – “Living Proof: Artistic Visions of Hope & Healing” – reflects the “warrior spirit” that many cancer survivors and caregivers adopt as they move through the trauma of cancer, adds Cawthon. “The National Cancer Institute estimates that as of January, 2022, there are 18.1 million cancer survivors in the United States. Those of us who are surviving cancer are living proof that more people than ever are beating this devastating disease. But we also know that cancer still takes far too many precious lives. Those of us who have lost a loved one are also living proof. We are living proof that the fight for cures continues, that hope is alive in us, and that art can help heal our hearts.”

Cawthon adds that everyone whose life has been touched by cancer is encouraged to submit artwork. “Whether you are recently diagnosed, currently in treatment or years out, you are a survivor. Whether you are a family member, friend, or medical professional, you are a caregiver. We would love for you to share your experience through this project.” 

Dare Arts Gallery Director Lynne Francis says, “Dare Arts is honored to collaborate with the Visionary Artists Group on this meaningful, multi-media project and looks forward to welcoming artists and visitors to what is sure to be a powerful exhibit.”

The project is actively seeking sponsors, and all proceeds from sponsorships will be donated to the Outer Banks Relief Foundation for assistance to families facing cancer. Businesses interested in sponsorship opportunities are invited to contact Cawthon at cawthon31@gmail.com or 252-553-0849.

Submission deadline is June 28.  More information, submission guidelines and forms are available on the project’s website at www.LivingProofOBX.com.

For more information, contact Kathy Cawthon at 252-553-0849, or cawthon31@gmail.com.