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Creative Center for Women With Cancer Adds the Performing Arts

Creative Center for Women With Cancer Adds the Performing Arts

NEW YORK—"In my sculpture, I see women as rich earthbound creatures. They are rooted to the ground while simultaneously reaching up and outward, vulnerable yet strong," says Leonda Finke, creator of the bronze sculpture shown at left (Standing Figure #3 by Leonda Finke). The sculpture was featured in the 2001 desk calendar of the New York-based Creative Center for Women With Cancer. The calendar is sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

The Center, well known for its workshops in the visual arts for women and men with cancer, also runs workshops for writers, and recently added a program for performing artists. In addition, the Center brings artists and musicians into hospitals to work directly with cancer patients.

"Our artist-in-residence program is now in nine hospitals in the New York area," said Geraldine (Gerry) Herbert, director of the Center, in an interview with ONI.

The Center has also started an art program for pediatric cancer patients at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Artist Daniela Mizrahi works with children in the clinic in the morning and bedside with inpatients in the afternoon, Ms. Herbert said. "Physicians have told Ms. Mizrahi, ‘You’ve changed this whole place. I wish you could come every day of the week,’" she said.

The Center is also exploring the idea of using a "composer-in-residence" who would help cancer patients compose their own songs.

New Loft Space

The most important change for the Center this year was its move to "a huge loft space in Chelsea," Ms. Herbert said. The Center’s first Creative Spirit Awards Gala, held last September, helped raise funds for the move. The gala honored the photographer Annie Liebovitz; Alison Esterbrook, MD, chief of breast surgery, Roosevelt-St. Luke’s Hospital, New York; Pulitzer prize winning author Anna Quindlen; and Deborah Dunsire, MD, of Novartis Pharmaceuticals. The next gala is scheduled for September 20, 2001.

An added benefit of the new loft is that the Center can now offer rehearsal space for performing artists. This month, the Center debuted "Crossings," its first intermedia performance installation created by women from the Center with four New York-based artists under the artistic directorship of Molly Sturges.

The website www.ccwconline.org features a full list of the workshops offered as well as a portfolio of artworks created at the Center.

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