On Sept. 5, a dozen people showed up to the Manor on the Drive with one common denominator — they had been affected by cancer.
It’s called Touched by Cancer, and it’s designed to give participants an outlet to express themselves visually.
“It really isn’t an art workshop. It’s a self-expression workshop about people’s journey with cancer,” said Sam Budyszenick, program director for Gilda’s Club South Florida, which hosted the event. “This medium is really disarming.”
Gilda’s used funds it got in the form of a grant from the Community Foundation of Broward County to run this event, which spanned a two sessions for participants to complete their projects (three hours on both Sept. 5 and Sept. 12), and an exhibition on Saturday, Sept. 29. The first two sessions took place at the Manor, whose general manager Jason Tamanini accepted Gilda’s without hesitation.
“We’re really lucky that we got this grant,” Budyszenick said. “[Tamanini] welcomed us with open arms. Literally, I mentioned Gilda’s Club and he said ‘yes.’”
Looking over the participants and teaching them the art of collage, which is the medium of expression fo the workshop was Janet Gold, an award-winning artist and wife of Roy Gold, mayor of Coral Springs.
“I’m a collage artist, so working with collage with cancer patients was the perfect answer. You don’t need to be able to draw or paint, you just find images from magazines,” she said. “It was really poignant working with these people and giving them a break from their everyday lives. It was enlightening.”
Budyszenick said the idea for the workshop came from the fact that many of those affected by cancer have a hard time expressing themselves. Specifically, he mentioned one of the participants who’d recently lost his father to cancer and was diagnosed with it himself.
“This was the first time he’d ever been able to express it. He didn’t have family that really wanted to talk about it, and friends shied away from the subject,” Budyszenick said. “That’s why it’s always important to find these unique avenues of expression.”
Gilda’s also offers yoga and water colors, among other activities, as mediums of expression.
“The key thing is that opportunities like these come about because of things like the Community Foundation and places like the Manor. This is a collaboration,” Budyzenick added. “We had gay men, gay women, transgender individuals. We’re lucky we were able to meet all of their individual needs.”
The attendees came up with titles for their pieces. The pieces will be on display at Gilda’s Club on Sept. 29, all 18 collages.
“These are people who had no artistic background,” Gold said. “You’ll get to see it all.”
For more information, go to www.gildasclubsouthflorida.com.