Mike Parker: UNC Lenoir Cancer Care encourages survivors to go with ‘flow’
Artist and Designer Joy Shortell will conduct a class for cancer survivors, their families and those currently fighting cancer. Submitted photo
UNC Lenoir Health Cancer Care is blazing a trail on the road less traveled by — and is looking for — cancer survivors and their supporters to take a walk on the artistic side.
Cancer Care is hosting a one-of-a-kind “flow painting” art class beginning at 1 p.m. on Friday, April 26, at Art 105 in downtown Kinston. Participants may include individuals currently under treatment, those in remission or who just completed treatment, and any friends and family who have supported them.
Best of all, this class is free. However, those wishing to take part in the class need to register with Cancer Care’s Meagan Evans in advance by calling 252-522-7600.
Artist and designer Joy Shortell will conduct the class. Flow painting is an innovative way to use paints to create art. Instead of using tools such as brushes or knives to create a piece, the artist pours paints directly onto the surface and tilts the canvas to move the paint around. Flow painting allows for colors to blend naturally as they come in contact with each other.
Cancer Care is offering the class to give participants the opportunity to relax, have fun, and leave Art 105 with their own masterpieces. Participants need not be concerned about their level of talent or previous art experience. Shortell will guide participants through the process.
Shortell and her husband Will Hitchcock moved to Kinston from Wilmington after living there for 14 years, where she worked with Cape Fear Community College. Although she enjoys the beach, she appreciates the charm of downtown Kinston.
In addition to learning the basics of “flow painting,” participants will have the chance to experience Kinston’s growing art scene. The Art 105 studio is at 105 W. Blount Street, next door to the Community Council for the Arts.
The Council has operated for more than a half century, and hosts both permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as holding juried shows, events, and classes for young and old.
Few local residents realize Kinston’s Community Council for the Arts has created the largest collection of public art in North Carolina, with more than 60 pieces tucked in spaces throughout town. Satellite galleries associated with the Council display artwork in downtown restaurants and hotels.
Close by, just two blocks towards the river, is a section of Kinston known as the Mitchelltown smART District. This section of Kinston has been established to serve as a center for eastern North Carolina artists of all interests.
Brightly colored houses with white picket fences delineate this neighborhood. The district houses potters, painters, graphic designers, photographers, and musicians – to name just a few. The homes of these artists’ have studios open to the public certain days of the month.
The UNC Lenoir Health Care Cancer Center provides radiation treatments daily to patients with various types of cancers. Along with radiation treatments, the center also provides supportive programs and services for patients and their caregivers.
Research demonstrates providing physical treatment alone is not as effective in cancer treatment as providing emotional and social support as well. Programs and services include support groups, individual/caregiver counseling, massage therapy workshops, beauty/wellness workshops, and survivorship events.
“These survivorship events are so beneficial to members of our cancer community and allow them to get away for a short time from the treatments, doctors’ appointments, and hospitals,” said Evans, the Oncology Patient Navigator and Social Worker.
“A survivor who attended one of our events said, ‘This is the first time in months that I haven’t thought about my cancer!’ I think this statement perfectly sums up the purpose of our supportive programs and services.”
The flow painting class is yet another opportunity for those dealing with cancer to turn their attention from treatments and channel their focus and energy into a creative, artistic, and entertaining activity.
Mike Parker is a columnist for Neuse News. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org .