Healing through the Arts

Fund For The Arts Launches Arts Inspiring Hope To Positively Impact Breast Cancer Community

By Remy Sisk

Courtesy Photos

Fund for the Arts is renowned in the community for its long reputation of aiding and sustaining some of the city’s preeminent arts organizations. Continuing that longstanding tradition of support, the Fund has recently launched a new form of outreach called Arts Inspiring Hope, a movement aimed at harnessing the healing power of the arts and using it to transform the lives of those touched by breast cancer.

“Arts Inspiring Hope is an opportunity for survivors, co-survivors and current breast cancer patients to get a little bit of an escape from what they’re experiencing in their everyday lives,” says Fund for the Arts Impact Officer Kat Abner, “and we’re utilizing the arts to help give them that escape.” The initiative was born out of a conversation with Susan G. Komen of Kentucky, and they, along with Fund for the Arts, began to explore how the current breast cancer community could be engaged and how the arts could be used as a healing tool.

The program manifests in the community in two different ways: First, survivors and co-survivors may receive free tickets to various arts experiences across the community. “It’s tickets to whatever speaks to them and whatever they’re passionate about,” Abner affirms. Second, the Fund is hosting arts workshops in collaboration with community partners. More activity- and movement-based, these workshops allow attendees to maybe work with a dance instructor or practice a monologue – they are arts experiences with more of a learning and participation factor.

These workshops formerly took place at five different locations weekly, but as attendance was somewhat less than hoped for, there’s been a bit of retooling to this aspect of the program in order to maximize impact. “What we learned in this pilot year is that the best way to engage the population is through their support network,” Abner explains. “So we regrouped and went back to this community and asked, ‘What would be a more effective way to engage the population?’ and they suggested that we focus on co-hosting opportunities with support groups or reaching patients through their healthcare providers.”

Though the program is only a few months old, Abner maintains that the positive results are already clear and looks forward to the coming phases of Arts Inspiring Hope and how it will continue to change the lives of those affected by breast cancer. “I think it’s a great way to give people an opportunity that is maybe going to open up their eyes to another way that they can deal with or cope with the trauma they’re experiencing or have experienced through the treatment and recovery process,” Abner emphasizes. “We hear from people who have gone to performances that it was a great opportunity for them to not just personally take a break but to reconnect with their families and their loved ones and do so in a way that has absolutely nothing to do with their diagnosis. It’s just a way for them to do something again as a family or as a group of friends and take a break from the hard conversations and tough times they’re having.” VT

Arts Inspiring Hope

fundforthearts.org/artsinspiringhope

Contact Kat Abner at 502.582.0127 or

kabner@fundforthearts.org.