The University Record, October 15, 2001

Cancer survivors display artwork

By Maria White
Comprehensive Cancer Center

The Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Survivors Art Gallery is featuring the work of local cancer patients with a public exhibition, “A Healing Journey: Confronting Cancer Through Art.” The show will run through October.

U-M cancer patients submitted artworks ranging from oil paintings, watercolors and pottery to textiles, weavings and bead work to the Cancer Center’s Art Selection Committee, which used a blind process to select the 25 works now featured in the fall show.
The watercolor painting above was created by cancer survivor Anita Rabideau. ‘I mean my work to be a celebration of all that is good and positive in life,’ reads a notation by Rabideau next to the painting. The logo is used for the Health System’s Healing Arts Program. (Photo by Martin May)
“The purpose of our gallery, in general, and this exhibit specifically, is to help cancer patients find ways to cope with their disease—to rise above the situation and even lose one’s self in art,” says Suzanne Mahler, healing arts director. “I believe visitors to the gallery will look at the art and find strength.”

Examples of the art and artists’ comments include:

  • A beaded necklace with strands of real hair, titled “How I wore my hair in 1997.”

  • A quilt created by an area dentist who nearly had to have her arm amputated because of bone cancer. As she put it, “The quilt is very symbolic—a sign of my healing and life.”

  • Beads created by a nationally known beader who explained, “Not long ago, I dreamed of these little bald heads. Recurrent dreams. I was compelled to make them. Unexpectedly, I too became a ‘bald head,’ but it’s my belief that my scary little stone heads frightened away the cancer, along with a strong mix of faith and prayer.”

    The Survivors Gallery is located on Level B1 of the Cancer Center, 1500 East Medical Center Drive, and is open to the public 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Mon.–Fri.

    For more information, visit the Web at or call (734) 764-8492.