The University Record, January 8, 2001

NEA grant funds consultant for Cancer Center’s Survivors’ Art Gallery

From Health System Public Relations

The Survivors’ Art Gallery currently houses the Smithsonian’s traveling ‘Healing Garden’ exhibition of 25 quilts that highlight plants that are ingredients in chemotherapy drugs. Clockwise, from left to right, works on display include Cyclee peltata by Patti Marcus, Cartharanthus roseus by Eileen Cavanagh, Fagara macrophyte by Carolyn Lynch and Podokphlium peltatum. Photos by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services
The new Survivors’ Art Gallery at the Comprehensive Cancer Center is attracting national attention. As part of a consultation initiative funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Society for Arts in Healthcare will send in a consultant to enhance the quality of the gallery.

Located in a heavily traveled hallway connecting the Cancer Center to University Hospital, the 500-foot Survivors’ Art Gallery wall showcases six exhibitions every year, including national traveling art and adult and pediatric art created with the help of the Cancer Center’s art therapist.

“It is a place of hope and community for all cancer survivors, their families and caretakers,” said Suzanne Mahler, director of the Healing Arts Program. “We want to continue to . . . attract more visitors by focusing on the nuts and bolts of running a professional gallery.”

Susan Ahrens (left) and June Possley of the Clinical Pathology Laboratories view the quilts in the Survivors’ Art Gallery. Ahrens is a quilter and has visited the exhibition three times.
Helen Orem of Orem Associates of Chevy Chase, Md., will spend two days this month consulting on gallery design, operations, marketing, fundraising and long-range planning. Orem has consulted on the development of numerous galleries across the country, among them Georgetown University Medical Center, Lombardi Cancer Center and Children’s National Medical Center, all in Washington, D.C.; the National Cancer Institute; and the Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

The Survivors’ Art Gallery, originally funded by a $15,000 grant from the Friends of University Hospital, is located on Level B1 of the Cancer and Geriatrics Centers Building. It is open to the public 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday. For information, visit the Healing Arts Program Web site at