A collection of photographs and story boards created by Sawtooth School students and staff is currently on display at the Novant Health Derrick L. Davis Cancer Center.
Though the display, which will be exhibited through Nov. 5, is not open to the general public, cancer patients and their loved ones are invited to enjoy the artwork and their accompanying stories.
The Sawtooth School is also offering patients and care-givers the opportunity to participate in one or more hands-on art experiences. Photography, journaling and video story-telling projects are offered. No particular art skills or previous experience is required for the patients and their families to take part in these activities. The program is scheduled to migrate from Novant Health’s campus to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Comprehensive Cancer Center on Nov. 8, where it will be through Dec. 19.
“As a former cancer patient myself, I know first-hand what it’s like to deal with the ups and downs of treatment and the stress and the uncertainties that go along with the experience,” said JoAnne Vernon, executive director of the Sawtooth School. “As I was undergoing treatment last year, it struck just how beneficial an art program would be for people like me and anyone else impacted by cancer or other serious illnesses. The arts – visual arts, music, writing – help patients manage the emotional impact of a cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment.”
The Sawtooth School had a successful model on which to build upon. Amanda Sullivan, the School’s photography coordinator, developed and launched a program called “Healing Grief and Loss through Photography” in February 2012 to provide a classroom setting and an artistic outlet for students to express deeply personal and complex feelings through photography. The first class was such a success that the program has continued, broadening into different art forms and attracting students of all ages, skills, talents and across the demographic spectrum.