2016 ECCOTA Heart in the Arts recipient - PA Wilds 2015 Artisan of the Year
My experience as a visual artist has cemented my respect and fascination with the effect that I can have on another person’s day by recording images on a canvas. I first became aware of this impact when I completed a work titled Vietnam: Pieces of the Past which was reproduced as prints to raise funds for a visit of the Moving Wall to my hometown. While visiting the memorial I was surprised to find myself approached several times by Veterans wanting to tell me “thank you” and share a memory of their experience. I went home that day with an awakened understanding that the research, heartfelt emotion and attention to detail that is put into my work can have an impact on total strangers.
The experience of that rainy June day in 2006 has had a strong influence on my art, guiding what subjects I choose to paint and my desire to make a positive impact with my work. It was knowing that I could communicate a message through my artwork that led me to develop The Power Within in 2012. PW is a traveling art exhibit created to raise an awareness of the role that nature plays in the on-going fight with cancer. The exhibit is my reaction to witnessing the intense love and support that my neighbor Beth received from her family during her fight with cancer. PW became even more personal when my Father received his first chemotherapy treatment in 2014 for Burkett’s lymphoma. Currently comprised of 27 pieces, PW is focused on seven plants that have been used in research and provide alkaloids which make an impact on battling cancer cells. PW gallery logs record entries confirming the value of the connection between nature and the fight against cancer. As I nurture and expand upon PW I hope that it can serve as a visual talisman offering an outreach of awareness of the hope for a cure which is literally growing around us.