Cancer survivors’ lives are forever deeply impacted by cancer and their stories are richly personal. Yet, participants in The Art of Life® Cancer Foundation programs find the courage and strength to search within and to creatively and publically express life changing personal journeys. They are uplifted in this endeavor by the dedication and heartfelt support of families, friends and the local community.
Together we celebrate life and survivorship and spread hope!
Currently, most of The Art of Life participants are women, ranging in age from 30-75 years old, who are being treated for, or who have survived, breast cancer. About 5% of the women are Latina. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, one in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. We have had a few children participate in Art of Life. The program is open to cancer survivors in the Central Valley of all ages, women and men, boys and girls.
Dr. Perkins treats the physical effects of breast cancer every day at California Oncology of the Central Valley. But for him, it is not enough. His unique “Philosophy of Wholeness” reflects an approach to the treatment of cancer you won’t find anywhere else. Out of his deep compassion for his patients and a desire for them to address their cancer holistically, he founded The Art of Life Program. In this innovative program, cancer survivors become more aware of the interconnectivity of the body, mind and soul in healing.
Additionally, there is scientific evidence that art-based interventions are effective in reducing adverse physiological and psychological outcomes. In the Art of Life Program participants find a creative outlet through painting to courageously tell their story and process their cancer journey often resulting in a greater sense of hope. “For many people, cancer can mean renewed life,” said Dr. Perkins, “and we want to communicate that through art.”
The Art of Life Program has been around and has been positively impacting people’s lives since 2008. The Foundation currently operates four different programs: The Art of Life Program; the Paula Project, which allows past Art of Life participants to return year after year and experience the joy of healing arts; the Community Project, which involves thousands of people in the community who rally behind cancer survivors by transforming ordinary materials into extraordinary works of art as a testimony of love and support; and the most recent project, the Art of Life Healing Garden at Woodward Park, which is being developed in Fresno, California’s Woodward Park —the largest public park in the Fresno area—and will serve to bring even more people together from around the community.
In 2014, more than 4,000 community members were involved in The Art of Life Foundation’s programs and events as Artistic Directors, Community Project participants, Unveiling event participants and volunteers. The Foundation’s programs inspired 138 cancer survivors to courageously connect and heal through creative expression. In 2015, The Art of Life Program will increase the number of cancer survivors participating to 150 or more, and the Foundation will involve 6,000 community members over all.
Local artists, who volunteer their time and talent, will guide a small group of 3-4 cancer survivors in collaborating on an acrylic, collage, photography or mixed media piece on canvas. Over the course of a month, each group will meet 3-4 times in the artist’s home or studio. The program will conclude with an Unveiling event to showcase the group’s message of hope and healing.
Participants in The Art of Life Cancer Foundation programs:
Find a therapeutic outlet through art to tell their story and process their cancer journey resulting in a greater sense of self-confidence and courage
Become more connected to family, friends and community, and feel more supported as they deal with the challenges they face
Share experiences and stories, which inspires hope
Become more aware of the interconnectivity of their body, mind and soul and are better equipped for addressing the cancer holistically
Our vision is that everyone touched by cancer will discover the art of life through creative expression to experience healing and hope.